The purpose of this paper is to extend brand identification theory to the sports team context by testing the direct and indirect effects of a sports team’s personality, sports fans’ identification with the team, and the effect of the length of fans’ relationship with a team on their loyalty to it.
The authors conducted a quantitative study among ice hockey fans of one Finnish hockey team before play-off games. Data came from an online questionnaire generating 1,166 responses.
The authors find that: first, identification with a team mediates the effects of brand personality on attitudinal loyalty and behavioral loyalty; second, brand personality is a stronger driver of identification among newer fans; and third, brand personality has a stronger influence on both attitudinal and behavioral loyalty among newer fans. These findings stress the importance of sports brand’s personality in driving fans’ identification with the team and their loyalty to it.
The study develops and tests a new conceptual model on consumer loyalty in the sports team context. The authors shed light on how sports team personality affects its fans’ identification with the team and the formation of fan loyalty, from the perspective of fans’ relationship length.
Karjaluoto, H., Munnukka, J. and Salmi, M. (2016), "How do brand personality, identification, and relationship length drive loyalty in sports?", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 50-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-09-2014-0206Download as .RIS
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