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Examining the relationship between brand emotion and brand extension among supporters of professional football clubs

Ibrahim Abosag (Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Stuart Roper (Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Daniel Hind (Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 14 September 2012

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9519

Abstract

Purpose

There is debate and controversy about the use of branding in sport. Often, fans show loyalty to their club that many brands could only dream of, and a key argument of previous research is that supporters do not like to think of their club in commercial terms, as a brand. However, the authors argue that in today's environment fans have pragmatic attitudes towards the necessity of branding and its importance in the future success of their clubs. Thus this paper aims to develop and test a model conceptualising the relationship between supporters' emotional attachment, supporters' brand perception/strength and their support for brand extension.

Design/methodology/approach

In‐depth interviews with, players, clubs' officials and supporters, leading to the design of a survey instrument completed by 842 supporters of two professional Norwegian football clubs.

Findings

The model confirms that fans that have a strong emotional attachment to their club have a stronger perception of the club as a brand and support brand extension.

Research limitations/implications

This is a one‐country study.

Practical implications

Club management needs to be careful when extending its brand. Brand extension must be designed to reflect the heritage and tradition of the club. Also, club management needs to show in brand extension an element of competitiveness, which improves brand image, strengthens supporters' belief in their club and attracts new supporters.

Originality/value

The authors provide new evidence which contradicts existing theory. The study challenged the widely accepted argument that supporters of football clubs are likely to disapprove of and reject the thought of their favourite football club as a brand.

Keywords

Citation

Abosag, I., Roper, S. and Hind, D. (2012), "Examining the relationship between brand emotion and brand extension among supporters of professional football clubs", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 No. 9, pp. 1233-1251. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090561211247810

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited