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Sport brands' attraction factors and international fans

Guillaume Bodet (UFRSTAPS Lyon1, University of Lyon, Villeurbanne, France)
Hui (Eric) Geng (Loughborough University, Loughborough, United Kingdom/China Sports Media Ltd, Beijing, China)
Nicolas Chanavat (CIAMS, University of Paris South (XI), Paris, France)
Chengcheng Wang (Shanghai University of Sports, Shanghai, China)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 6 April 2020

Issue publication date: 16 April 2020




The overall aim of this study is to improve our understanding of the strength of attraction factors of professional football club brands with foreign fans, and of the influence of demographics and individual characteristics on the influence of these factors in the context of sport spectatorship services.


This research was based on a quantitative study surveying 1,160 Chinese fans of English Premier League clubs and its results were produced through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. They identify the relative importance of 21 organisation– (e.g. star players, charismatic managers, team kits, partnerships and alliances, etc.), market and environment– (e.g. peer influence, TV coverage, etc.), and experience– (e.g. personal bonds, past attendance, etc.) induced service brand attraction points that were categorised into six main factors: star players, on-the-field performance, brand identity, marketing and merchandising, localism and experience.


Organisation-induced factors are the most important club brand attraction factors for Chinese fans. ANOVA analysis showed that demographic (i.e. gender, age, and education) and individual (i.e. brand identification and loyalty levels) characteristics influence the importance of attraction factors for fans. For instance, fans who had previously supported a different club brand rated the marketing and merchandising dimensions lower, localism higher, on-the-field performance lower and brand identity lower than those who had always supported the same club.


These results emphasise the importance of segmentation when considering consumer attraction to professional sport brands. They also provide specific practical knowledge that is useful when expanding into new foreign markets.



Bodet, G., Geng, H.(E)., Chanavat, N. and Wang, C. (2020), "Sport brands' attraction factors and international fans", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 147-167.



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