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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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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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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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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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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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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.

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Kihan Kim and Yunjae Cheong

This study examines the moderating effect of athlete-audience ethnicity match in athlete-endorsed advertising. Attitude toward the brand and purchase intention were measured after participants were exposed to a stimulus advertisement featuring an athlete endorser whose ethnicity either matched or mismatched the participant’s ethnicity. A week before the advertisement exposure, the preexisting attitudes toward the athlete and the brand were measured. Consistent with the notion of ethnic self-awareness, findings from full and multigroup path analyses revealed that attitudes toward the athlete and the perceived athlete-brand fit had a more positive impact on postattitude toward the brand when the athlete’s ethnicity matched, rather than mismatched, the participant’s ethnicity. Subsequently, the postattitudes toward the brand had a positive impact on purchase intention. The preexisting attitude toward the brand had a positive and direct impact on the postattitude toward the brand and purchase intention, regardless of the athlete-participant ethnicity match.

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Ben Larkin, Brendan Dwyer, and Chad Goebert

phenomenon for athlete brand management. Literature Review Fantasy Sport as a Complement to Traditional Team and Player Fandom Dating back more than 15 years, research on fantasy sport has addressed such issues as common motives for participating in the activity (e.g.,  Dwyer & Kim, 2011 ; Lee, Seo, & Green