The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of brand associations on brand loyalty of fans toward professional football clubs in developed and emerging football markets (EFM). In particular, the following research questions are answered: how important are different determinants of brand associations for fans from developed football markets (DFM) and EFM? Are there any major differences in the importance of different brand associations and their influence on brand loyalty between fans from DFM and EFM?
Based on the customer-based brand equity framework the impact of brand associations on brand loyalty is tested with a sample of 3,587 fans from DFM – Germany, England, Spain, Italy, and France (2,032) – as well as fans from EFM – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the USA (1,555).
Structural equation modeling is applied and shows a negative impact of brand attributes on attitudinal loyalty, whereas brand benefits positively impact attitudinal loyalty. Furthermore, significant differences between fans from developed and EFM are revealed. Implications for the management of football teams and for research on brand management are derived.
This study extends the work of Gladden and Funk (2001) by expanding the model used to assess brand loyalty and analyzes it empirically in different football markets. When looking to foster attitudinal loyalty, marketers should concentrate on benefit associations instead of attribute associations. Most importantly, marketers should be aware that when focusing on developing brand loyalty amongst EFM fans, they should not simply apply the same strategies that proved to be effective in DFM and vice versa.
Maderer, D., Holtbruegge, D. and Woodland, R. (2016), "The impact of brand associations on brand loyalty in the football industry", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 6 No. 5, pp. 499-519. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBM-06-2016-0026Download as .RIS
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