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Matthew Katz, Thomas A. Baker III, and Hui Du

Among the many characteristics of brand community ( Muniz & O’Guinn, 2001 ), few are more salient in the context of sport fans than their nongeographically bound nature. Sport fans do not need to live in the same geographic communities as the teams they support. For example, European soccer clubs

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Matthew Katz and Bob Heere

The authors explore the formation of a new brand community to increase our understanding of the development of particular social networks within this overall new community. An ethnographic study was conducted among four tailgating groups of a new college team during its inaugural season. The method was chosen to gain insight into how individual consumers interacted with each other and how these early interactions contributed to the development of a brand community. To examine these interactions, social network theory was used to examine the relationships between the individuals within a larger group setting. Adopting this theoretical approach allowed the authors to observe that newly created groups follow the principles of scale-free networks, where some consumers act as leaders and others as followers. The implications for both highly committed leaders and noncommittal followers within each social network are discussed.

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Akira Asada and Yong Jae Ko

.g., neighborhood, city, and region), whereas a community of interest contains a group of people who share common interests, expertise, and passions (e.g., hobby club and religious group). A brand community is a community of interest centered around a brand. Muñiz and O’Guinn ( 2001 ) defined brand community as “a

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Akira Asada, Yong Jae Ko, and Wonseok (Eric) Jang

within brand communities: Overcoming the Achilles’ Heel of scale-free networks . Sport Management Review, 18, 370 – 383 . doi:10.1016/j.smr.2014.10.001 10.1016/j.smr.2014.10.001 Kenyon , G.S. , & McPherson , B.D. ( 1974 ). An approach to the study of sport socialisation . International Review

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Jules Woolf, Bob Heere, and Matthew Walker

Given the ubiquity of charitable organizations and the events used to solicit donations for a cause, many charity-based organizations are continually looking for ways to expand their fundraising efforts. In this quest, many have added endurance sport events to their fundraising portfolios. Anecdotally, we know that building long-term and meaningful relationships with current (and potential) donors is critical for a nonprofit organization’s success. However, there is a paucity of research regarding whether these charity sport events serve as relationship-building mechanisms (i.e., ‘brandfests’) to assist in developing attachments to the charity. The purpose of this mixed-methods investigation was to explore to what extent a charity sport event served as a brandfest to foster a sense of identity with the charity. For this particular case study, the charity event had little effect on participants’ relationship with the charity.

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Bastian Popp, Chris Horbel, and Claas Christian Germelmann

meaning that is completely different from or even contradictory to the team’s (intended) brand communication. Through the dissemination of negative brand meaning, anti-brand-community members can cocreate brand meaning that is not controlled by the brand ( Escalas & Bettman, 2005 ; Hollenbeck & Zinkhan

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Gashaw Abeza, Norm O’Reilly, and Benoit Seguin

and image repair through social media, and social-media-based anti-sponsor-brand communities. In this special issue we present two interviews, one commentary, four research manuscripts, and one case study. Jueyin Ashley Zheng, in her interview with NFL China’s digital media manager, presents the

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T. Bettina Cornwell, Steffen Jahn, Hu Xie, and Wang Suk Suh

brand communities ( McAlexander, Schouten, & Koenig, 2002 ) where the shared interest is oriented to a product owned by each member. Still brand communities and their orientation to a product do not align perfectly in terms of theory with loosely collected groups such as those found at an event. How is

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Henry Wear and Bob Heere

). This collection of fans who come together to consume and watch their favorite sport team either in the stadium, at their favorite bar, or in front of their televisions can be called a brand community ( Heere, Walker, et al., 2011 ). These brand communities are characterized by consumers who are brought

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Matthew Katz, Bob Heere, and E. Nicole Melton

sport consumers within which individuals belong. The structure of relationships between actors and the underlying dependence among individuals largely affect individual outcomes ( Robins, 2015 ), and sport consumption is no exception. Sport fans represent prominent examples of modern brand communities