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Sukjoon Yoon, James F. Petrick and Sheila J. Backman

Sport fans who have formed strong connections to their favorite team may be termed loyal fans. One popular communication tool for such fans is Twitter, which has been found to be an important medium for sharing news and events, yet few studies have examined the moderating of Twitter use in a sport context. Adopting the relational approach examining the determinants of sport-fan loyalty, this study examined how Twitter use moderates the building of fan loyalty. Findings revealed that team attraction, team trust, and team involvement are positively related to team attachment. While team attachment was found to positively influence fan loyalty, sport fans’ Twitter use was found to significantly reinforce their loyalty. Specific implications for both theory and practice are discussed.

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Daniel C. Funk and Jeffrey D. James

Prior research has demonstrated a direct relationship between loyalty and reasons for liking a particular sport team. The current study replicates and extends this line of inquiry by examining the mediating role of attachment, a process by which an individual moves from merely liking a team (attraction) to becoming loyal to a team (allegiance). Data (Collegiate N = 194; Collegiate and Professional N = 402, Favorite Sport Team N = 808) were collected to examine 13 benefits and attributes associated with liking a sport team, 3 attitude formation properties, and allegiance. A three-stage test of mediation using MLR revealed that attachment mediated the relationship between allegiance and Vicarious Achievement, Nostalgia, Star Player, Escape, Success, and Peer Group Acceptance. Results demonstrate that allegiance is the outcome of a process by which individuals develop stronger emotional reactions to, more functional knowledge about, and greater symbolic value for benefits and attributes associated with a sport team.