We love to hate them! Social media-based anti-brand communities in professional football

Bastian Popp (Carnegie Faculty, School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK)
Claas Christian Germelmann (Department of Marketing, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)
Benjamin Jung (University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany)

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship

ISSN: 1464-6668

Publication date: 7 November 2016

Abstract

Purpose

Social media has promoted anti-brand communities, which build around the shared aversion to a specific brand. The purpose of this paper is to investigate social media-based anti-brand communities and their effects on the sports team brand in question.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a netnographic study of Facebook-based anti-brand communities that oppose a professional football team.

Findings

The netnographic study reveals characteristics and drivers of Facebook-based anti-brand communities that oppose a professional football team. The research further identifies co-destructive behaviours of anti-brand community members that harm the sports team brand and even its sponsors. However, the findings also reveal that anti-brand communities may play a positive role in sport, as they strengthen the relationship between fans of the opposed brand and this brand and foster rivalry among football fans.

Practical implications

This research establishes the relevance of social media-based anti-brand communities for sports brands. Recommendations are made for team sport brands with regards to how to deal with the phenomenon of anti-brand communities.

Originality/value

While the previous research on anti-brand activism focused on either offline movements or movements using traditional websites, this research is the first to investigate the pivotal role of social networking sites for anti-brand activism. The paper further uncovers unique motivational, attitudinal, and behavioral patterns of fans that meet in communities opposing not only the rival team, but also the brand associated with the team. Findings show ways to better understand and deal with such anti-brand communities in sports.

Keywords

Citation

Popp, B., Germelmann, C. and Jung, B. (2016), "We love to hate them! Social media-based anti-brand communities in professional football", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 349-367. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSMS-11-2016-018

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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