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Thilo Kunkel, Rui Biscaia, Akiko Arai, and Kwame Agyemang

number of followers on Instagram than his team, the Philadelphia 76ers (1.8 million). These athletes often act as entrepreneurs of their own brands ( Ratten, 2015 ) and require strategic growth management guidance to build their audience ( Agyemang, Williams, & Kim, 2015 ). Athlete branding has become a

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Yonghwan Chang, Yong Jae Ko, and Brad D. Carlson

( Elberse & Verleun, 2012 ). Recent scholarship also reveals that consumers enhance their self-esteem and life satisfaction by developing emotional attachments to athlete brands ( Carlson & Donavan, 2013 ; Walsh & Williams, 2017 ). Given their potential to impact both business success and consumer well

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Thilo Kunkel, Olan Scott, and Anthony Beaton

Michael Lahoud is a professional soccer player who currently plays for Miami FC in the North American Soccer League (NASL). He was born in Sierra Leone, where he escaped civil war when he was 6 years old. As a refugee, soccer helped him integrate in the United States, where he was drafted as the ninth overall pick in the 2009 Major League Soccer (MLS) superdraft. He is a community advocate who uses his sport to support charitable efforts such as the Wall Las Memorias project, the NoH8 campaign, and Schools for Salone. He was the MLS Humanitarian of the Year in 2010, and, together with Kei Kamara, he is the recipient of the 2015 FIFPro World Players’ Union Merit Award (a prize worth $25,000), which recognized their involvement in the Schools for Salone project that builds schools in their home country of Sierra Leone. His brand is Soccer can make a difference. This interview consists of two parts, with the first part being conducted in December 2015 when he was a player with the MLS team Philadelphia Union and the second part being conducted in July 2016 after two transfers within 4 months. The interviews provide an overview of his approach to athlete branding via social media and its impact on his career.

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Patrick Walsh and Antonio Williams

While athletes have been building and leveraging their brands for many years by introducing brand extensions, research on sport brand extensions has primarily focused on factors that influence the success of team-related extensions. However, as there is potential risk involved when introducing brand extensions, it is important for athletes to understand how consumers respond to extensions they may introduce. Through the use of self-administered web-based surveys this study provides the initial examination of this topic by exposing participants (n = 292) to hypothetical brand extensions and investigating factors that may influence perceived fit and attitudes toward athlete brand extensions. Partial least squares path modeling suggests that athlete prestige had the most significant effect on fit and attitudes for a brand extension that is considered to be a fit with an athlete’s image, while athlete attachment had the most influence on fit and attitudes for a brand extension with low perceived fit.

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Andrea N. Geurin

an advertising showcase in which athletes are shown as brands in all their magnitude” (p. 296), and this notion of athletes as brands was echoed by Arai, Ko, and Ross ( 2014 ), who coined the term “athlete brand,” which they defined as “a public persona of an individual athlete who has established

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Brad D. Carlson and D. Todd Donavan

By integrating social identity theory with brand personality, the authors test a model of how perceptions of human brands affect consumer’s level of cognitive identification. The findings suggest that consumers view athletes as human brands with unique personalities. Additional findings demonstrate that athlete prestige and distinctiveness leads to the evaluation of athlete identification. Once consumers identified with the athlete, they were more likely to feel an emotional attachment to the athlete, identify with the athlete’s team, purchase team-related paraphernalia and increase their team-related viewership habits. The findings extend previous research on human brands and brand personalities in sports. Marketers can use the information gleaned from this study to better promote products that are closely associated with well-recognized and attractive athletes, thereby increasing consumer retail spending. In addition, the findings offer new insights to sports marketers seeking to increase team-related spectatorship by promoting the image of easily recognizable athletes.

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Joon Ho Lim, Leigh Anne Donovan, Peter Kaufman, and Chiharu Ishida

To examine how the level of humility expressed through athletes’ social media postings and post volume is associated with the athletes’ in-game performance, the authors collected National Football League players’ social media activities throughout one season, in addition to player performance and profile information. To account for the multilevel and panel structure of the data, they conducted a series of fixed-effects panel models. In addition to a negative relationship between social media posting frequency and performance, the authors found that players who post social media content with a higher level of humility are more likely to have better performances. However, this humility–performance association follows an inverted U-shaped relationship. The results provide insight into how critical athletes’ social media activity is for in-game performance. This study also provides important implications for athletes, team coaches, staff, and managers and provides guidance for future research.

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T. Christopher Greenwell, Jason M. Simmons, Meg Hancock, Megan Shreffler, and Dustin Thorn

or combative representations. H2b: Female consumers will have more positive attitudes toward an event featuring neutral representations of female fighters than toward sexualized or combative representations. Athlete Brand Image The second objective of this study is to investigate how these portrayals

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Yiran Su, Bradley J. Baker, Jason P. Doyle, and Meimei Yan

-branding tool. In doing so, we ask the following three questions: (a) How are athletes using TikTok to engage fans during the pandemic? (b) What elements make TikTok a distinct engagement tool for athletes? and (c) What is the role of TikTok in athletesbranding efforts? Our results shed light on social media

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Elsa Kristiansen and Antonio S. Williams

This article explored how a renowned LPGA golfer, Suzann Pettersen, has built and leveraged her personal brand. Using the athlete brand-equity model as the theoretical framework, a qualitative case study was built by means of interviews and document analyses. Specifically, this case detailed how Pettersen and her management team endeavored to build and manage her personal brand equity through organization-produced and -controlled brand-communications strategies. The findings of this case shed light on the challenges and opportunities that athletes and their constituents face when managing human brands. Moreover, the findings of this case support the use of previously proposed sport-branding conceptualizations in a real-world setting.