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Akira Asada and Yong Jae Ko

The purpose of this study was to identify key characteristics of word-of-mouth (WOM) communication and examine their impact on sport consumers’ perceived influence in sport viewership. Through an extensive literature review, we identified the characteristics of the message sender (i.e., expertise and trustworthiness) and the message (i.e., richness of message content and strength of message delivery) as determinants of perceived influence of WOM. We also examined the moderating effects of homophily (interpersonal factors) and involvement (the message receiver characteristics). Data were collected from sport consumers who had received a recommendation to watch a sporting event in the preceding 3 months and actually watched the event. The results indicate the positive effects of trustworthiness, richness of message content, and strength of message delivery on WOM influence. Homophily and involvement were found to have moderating effects. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed.

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Megan B. Shreffler and Stephen D. Ross

Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing has the potential to effectively contribute to revenue generation as sport organizations continue to create and implement marketing strategies to build and maintain relationships with consumers. While there has been a plethora of research on WOM marketing in the general business literature, the magnitude of the phenomenon must be examined separately in a sport setting because of the uniqueness of sport fans as consumers. This study examined the effect of the transference of personal experiences through WOM activity on brand associations, team identification, and the behavioral intentions of college basketball fans. Through a 4-stage data-collection approach in which both positive and negative messages were used, it was found that WOM activity has a significant impact on some of the measured constructs. The results of the study suggest that negative WOM has a greater impact on consumers than positive WOM, providing significant theoretical and managerial implications.

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Megan B. Shreffler

The Internet has become a competitive platform from which organizations can market their services and consumers can garner information through electronic word of mouth (eWOM). While eWOM has been examined in many different contexts, little research has been done on the impact of eWOM in a sport setting. This study examined the persuasiveness of eWOM on the attitudes and behaviors of consumers through online reviews of the Chicago Bears Bar, a hypothetical brand extension of the Chicago Bears. Through an online experiment with the elaboration likelihood model providing a theoretical framework, 2 major findings emerged from this research. First, it was found that the attitudes of highly identified fans are influenced by high-quality reviews. Second, the behaviors of highly identified fans were significantly influenced by high-quality reviews. Both findings suggest that highly identified fans prefer to align with messages that are refective of their attitudes toward a brand and its extensions. The results of the study provide significant theoretical and managerial implications.

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B. Colin Cork and Terry Eddy

The purpose of this study was to examine endorsement-related tweets from athletes and determine which characteristics of those tweets could increase the degree of electronic word-of-mouth marketing (eWOM) generated by the message. Previous literature has suggested that the retweet function in Twitter is a form of eWOM. Through the lens of eWOM, the concepts of vividness, interactivity, and congruence are used to understand what tweet characteristics generate the most retweets. A sample of professional-athlete endorsement and sponsored tweets (n = 669) was used and coded based on frameworks adapted from previous studies. Results indicated that the interaction between levels of high vividness and high interactivity generated the highest frequency of retweets. Reported findings could inform athletes and/or brand managers in ways to increase the eWOM of sponsored messages on Twitter.

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Thomas A. Baker, Kevin K. Byon, Beth A. Cianfrone and John Grady

The purpose of the study was twofold: a) to conceptualize and measure student-athlete “likeness” in the NCAA Football sport video games (SVGs) and b) to examine the impact of use of likeness on SVG consumption (i.e., purchase intention and word-of-mouth). Data (N = 621) were collected from NCAA Football SVGs users with experience in purchasing and playing the game. Descriptive statistics, t test, factor analysis, and hierarchical regression analyses showed that student-athlete likeness featured in NCAA Football SVGs were well perceived by gamers. The results indicated that dimensions of the student-athlete likeness were empirically supported in that the factors (i.e., identity value and identity use) were found to be positively related to purchase intention and word-of-mouth. Results were discussed with regards to theoretical and practical implications for sport managers in the legal and consumer behavior perspective.

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Marco Visentin, Daniele Scarpi and Gabriele Pizzi

In this research we develop a comprehensive model of sponsorship effects accounting for behavioral outcomes such as actual purchase, purchase intentions, and word-of-mouth referral intention. We recombine constructs that have been traditionally considered separately into three stages—assessment, elaboration, and behavior. We collect data on actual customers of Nike and Adidas flagship stores during the FIFA World Cup sponsorship. Basing on our results, we provide a consumer-oriented perspective on the role of attitude toward the brand, fit, and involvement with the event in determining customer reaction to sponsorship activities.

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Yu Kyoum Kim and Galen Trail

Sport consumers are increasingly discontented and disconnected with sport organizations and researchers have advocated a fundamental shift in sport marketing from a traditional exchange paradigm to a relationship paradigm. Relationship quality is critical to understanding sport consumer-organization relationships because it can: (a) render a platform to organize wide-ranging relational constructs; (b) provide insight into evaluating relationship-marketing effectiveness; and (c) diagnose and address problems in relationships. Therefore, we propose a conceptual framework of sport consumer-organization relationship quality that consists of three main components. First, we specify that relationship quality consists of five distinct but related relational constructs (trust, commitment, intimacy, self-connection, and reciprocity). Second, we suggest that relationship quality influences word of mouth, media consumption, licensed-product consumption, and attendance behaviors. Finally, we argue that psychographic factors such as relationship styles, relationship drive, and general interpersonal orientation are moderators, as well as demographic factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, region, and income.

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Brendan Dwyer, Gregory P. Greenhalgh and Carrie W. LeCrom

Brand evangelism, an advanced form of marketing where consumers voluntarily advocate on behalf of the brand, can bring numerous benefits to a firm. Pro-brand behaviors such as word-of-mouth promotion, recruitment of consumers, and disparagement of rivals are just a few of the many actions associated with brand evangelism. With highly impassioned and provocative fans, an opportunity exists to explore brand evangelism within the spectator sport context. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a scale to measure sport team (brand) evangelism. Guided by Fournier’s (1998) brand extension of relationship theory and following Churchill’s (1979) eight-step method for developing marketing measures, two focus groups of fans were interviewed and an additional 450 sport fans were surveyed through two distinct data collections in an attempt to identify sport team evangelistic behaviors, and test a measure of such behaviors. The assessment of the instrument included two forms of reliability analysis and three modes of validity analysis as the scale was parsimoniously reduced from 88 initial behaviors to four factors and 14 items.

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Robert Topp, Lee Winchester, Amber M. Mink, Jeremiah S. Kaufman and Dean E. Jacks

Context:

Soft-tissue injuries are commonly treated with ice or menthol gels. Few studies have compared the effects of these treatments on blood flow and muscle strength.

Objective:

To compare blood flow and muscle strength in the forearm after an application of ice or menthol gel or no treatment.

Design:

Repeated-measures design in which blood-flow and muscle-strength data were collected from subjects under 3 treatment conditions.

Setting:

Exercise physiology laboratory.

Participants:

17 healthy adults with no impediment to the blood flow or strength in their right arm, recruited through word of mouth.

Intervention:

Three separate treatment conditions were randomly applied topically to the right forearm: no treatment, 0.5 kg of ice, or 3.5 mL of 3.5% menthol gel. To avoid injury ice was only applied for 20 min.

Main Outcome Measures:

At each data-collection session blood flow (mL/min) of the right radial artery was determined at baseline before any treatment and then at 5, 10, 15, and 20 min after treatment using Doppler ultrasound. Muscle strength was assessed as maximum isokinetic flexion and extension of the wrist at 30°/s 20, 25, and 30 min after treatment.

Results:

The menthol gel reduced (−42%, P < .05) blood flow in the radial artery 5 min after application but not at 10, 15, or 20 min after application. Ice reduced (−48%, P < .05) blood flow in the radial artery only after 20 min of application. After 15 min of the control condition blood flow increased (83%, P < .05) from baseline measures. After the removal of ice, wrist-extension strength did not increase per repeated strength assessment as it did during the control condition (9−11%, P < .05) and menthol-gel intervention (8%, P < .05).

Conclusions:

Menthol has a fast-acting, short-lived effect of reducing blood flow. Ice reduces blood flow after a prolonged duration. Muscle strength appears to be inhibited after ice application.

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Eva A. Jaarsma, Damian Haslett and Brett Smith

concerned parties (e.g., sport organizations, disability charities, social entrepreneurs), to a range of people (e.g., inactive people with disabilities, parents, teachers), in a range of ways (e.g., online, word of mouth), resulting in a range of success (e.g., in/accessible or ir/relevant information