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Joseph Ray, Jimmy Smith and Brian Fowler

Social media has become a powerful source of sports information. The uncertainty of outcomes of a sporting event is a contributing factor to fan satisfaction, which in turn affects fans’ social-media habits. If teams can determine specific factors that affect these social-media habits, marketing conclusions can be drawn. The current research followed the Twitter accounts of 4 National Hockey League (NHL) teams throughout the 2015 NHL postseason to observe changes in fan engagement. The results displayed increasing growth during each subsequent round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which indicates an advantageous time to gain fans and develop brand loyalty. The current research showed that retweets and favorites earned on team tweets were shown to have the greatest correlation to followers gained. The growth demonstrated during the postseason provides sports organizations the opportunity to cultivate a strong and loyal following for their teams through strategic marketing initiatives.

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Thilo Kunkel, Daniel Funk and Brad Hill

Understanding brand relationships as perceived by consumers is important for the successful management and marketing of connected brands. Brand architecture and consumer behavior literature was integrated in this study to examine brand relationships between professional sport leagues and teams from a consumers’ perspective. Online questionnaire data were gathered from football consumers (N = 752) to test the influence of leagues and teams on consumer loyalty. Consumers were segmented into three theoretically identified sport brand architecture groups: league dominant, team dominant, and codominant. Findings of CFA, MANOVA, paired-sample t tests, frequency analysis, chi-square and linear regression analysis revealed that leagues and teams were in a codominant relationship with one another. Results revealed the brand architecture of leagues and teams as perceived by consumers, provide a reliable and valid tool to segment sport spectators, and showcase the influence of external factors on consumer loyalty with a team. Suggestions for league and team management and marketing are presented to better leverage their brand relationship and increase consumer loyalty with both brands.

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Dae Hee Kwak, Stephen McDaniel and Ki Tak Kim

The current study revisited the satisfaction-loyalty paradigm in a hedonic consumption context that involves a learning component. In particular, this study involved actual users (N = 328) of a specific sport video game (FIFA soccer), to examine the structural relationships among the constructs of: game satisfaction, hedonic attitudes toward the brand, gaming skill, and brand loyalty. Contrary to existing research in this area, SEM results indicated that customer satisfaction did not have a direct effect on loyalty. The relationship between game satisfaction and loyalty was mediated by positive brand attitudes and perceived gaming skill. The applied and theoretical implications of the findings are discussed along with limitations and future directions for research.

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Jerred Junqi Wang, James J. Zhang, Kevin K. Byon, Thomas A. Baker and Zhenqiu Laura Lu

Building on schema theory, the current study highlighted the role of brand-event personality fit (BEPF) in sport-event sponsorship communications and empirically examined its impact on sponsors’ consumer-based brand equity (CBBE) in the setting of American college football. Three studies were conducted to refine a sound measurement scale of BEPF and examine the structural relationships between BEPF and CBBE. Research findings confirmed the validity and reliability of the proposed BEPF measurement scale and revealed a series of positive relationships between crucial subdimensions of BEPF (i.e., responsibility fit, emotionality fit, and aggressiveness fit) and CBBE (i.e., brand awareness/association, perceived value, and brand loyalty). The findings offer brand managers specific references as to which aspects of BEPF should be prioritized in their promotional communications to build CBBE. Event marketers could also use the findings to communicate with corporations regarding potential or continued sponsorship agreements.

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Michael Kirkwood, Sheau-Fen Yap and Yingzi Xu

Understanding interactions between sport fans helps sport marketers customize relationships with the fans and enhance brand loyalty. This paper analyzes the social exchanges that take place in an online sport community and identifies possible fan roles and their influences in the community. Based on a netnography approach, the study identifies 4 different types of role—Oracles, Hollywoods, Jokers, and Rookies—yielding a typology of sport fans that denotes their roles in the online community. This typology may serve as a useful foundation in which a more comprehensive classification of sport fans could be developed. The study contributes to sport communication literature by bringing together the concepts of identity, social exchange, and role theory relative to sport-fan behavior in an online social community. The research offers suggestions for sport organizations regarding leveraging the value cocreated among sport fans and the leadership that emerged in the online sport community to develop effective sport communication programs.

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Article Brand Architecture, Drivers of Consumer Involvement, and Brand Loyalty With Professional Sport Leagues and Teams Thilo Kunkel * Daniel Funk * Brad Hill * 5 2013 27 3 177 192 10.1123/jsm.27.3.177 Human Brands in Sport: Athlete Brand Personality and Identification Brad D. Carlson * D

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Jason Daniels, Thilo Kunkel and Adam Karg

, 2001 ). Research has centered on how consumer benefits of nostalgia and escape have positive relationships with brand loyalty, attitude formation, and consumer allegiance ( Funk & James, 2006 ; Gladden & Funk, 2001 ). Doyle et al. ( 2013 ) similarly found that brand benefits of nostalgia, peer group

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Henry Wear and Bob Heere

, and nonplayer personnel. Regardless of their measurement, sport scholars have found that brand associations are drivers of brand loyalty, purchase intentions, and consumer affective commitment to a sport brand ( Bauer, Stokburger-Sauer, & Exler, 2008 ; Filo et al., 2008 ; Gladden & Funk, 2002

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Hunter Fujak, Stephen Frawley, Heath McDonald and Stephen Bush

positioned as an “ephemeral experience mired in the irrational passions of fans, commanding high levels of product and brand loyalty, optimism and vicarious identification” ( Smith & Stewart, 2010 , p. 3). Although such characterization of sport fans provides for a simple narrative, the degree to which sport

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Jonathan M. Casper and Jung-Hwan Jeon

, 10 ( 1 ), 98 – 135 . 10.1186/1479-5868-10-98 Filo , K. , & Funk , D.C. ( 2008 ). Exploring the role of brand trust in the relationship between brand associations and brand loyalty in sport and fitness . International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 3 ( 1/2 ), 39 – 57 . doi:10