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Sports Marketing Quarterly

Issue 32:3 – September, 2023

By September 29, 2023No Comments


The Impact of Authenticity on Celebrity Athlete Social Media Endorsement Messaging

Authors: Eric Nichols and Stephen Shapiro

The rise in celebrity athletes’ influence due to social media has had a massive effect on endorsement opportunities. Social media has given celebrity athletes an owned platform from which to leverage their audience into business opportunities, but an understanding of how authenticity affects the consumer was needed. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine how the perceived authenticity of celebrity athletes’ social media endorsement posts affects brand attitudes and purchase intentions. Two experiments were conducted using fictitious Twitter posts including celebrity athletes to manipulate authenticity. Study 1 established that authenticity of a post has a significant effect on brand attitudes and purchase intention. Study 2 introduced two new celebrities and one new product. The importance of authenticity remained consistent with Study 1. Additionally, the type of brand had a greater effect when the promoted product required more purchase consideration when compared to an impulse purchase. Lastly, the celebrity promoting the product was not found to be significant. This research expands on the growing stream of knowledge related to authenticity in marketing communications and confirms its vital role.

Keywords: athlete branding, endorsement, authenticity


Who Says She’s Not a True Fan? Perceptions of Fan Authenticity Among Gen Z Women Sports Fans

Authors: Christina S. Simmers, Rebecca Rast, and Joshua T. Coleman

While sports have traditionally been perceived as an industry dominated by men, the women’s sports fashion industry is growing both in terms of market power and complexity. This paper explores women’s fanwear fashion choices and others’ perceptions of their fan authenticity among Gen Z sports fans. Through an application of attribution theory, empirical analyses revealed that men generally do not make differential attributions toward a woman’s fan authenticity based on her fashion choice. Women, however, attribute a nuanced variety of motive and authenticity based on fanwear choice. These findings were extended across men’s and women’s sports teams. This research provides a further understanding of Gen Z perceptions of women who wear various styles of sports fan fashion, how others perceive a woman’s fan authenticity, and the degree to which men and women make these judgments.

Keywords: women sports fan fashion, women Gen Z fans, women collegiate sports fans, gender identity, fan authenticity, sports fan motivation, fanwear


They Saw a Game! Impact of Consumers’ Self-Serving Bias on Moral Disengagement and Subsequent Tolerant Responses Toward Athlete Scandals

Authors: Jin Woo Ahn, Joon Sung Lee, and Daniel L. Wann

This research attempted to examine the tolerant responses of sport fans to scandalized athletes by drawing on fans’ self-serving bias and attribution theory. To this end, we conducted a quasi-experimental study (n = 219).The results of SEM analysis indicate that fans with a high team identification reported a greater level of external attribution than those with low team identification, while fans with low team identification reported a greater level of internal attribution than those with high team identification. Also, external attribution had positive impacts on moral disengagement, while internal attribution had negative impacts. We found that sport fans become more forgiving by activating moral disengagement. The present study further extends the literature by investigating how the level of team identification can evoke differential consumer responses toward a wrongdoer and enabling practitioners to make informed decisions on whether they should keep ties with troubled athletes.

Keywords: self-serving bias, team identification, moral disengagement, attribution, athlete transgression


Dehumanization of Professional Athletes and Implications for Brand Attachment

Authors: Ben Larkin, Brendan Dwyer, and Chad Goebert

A growing amount of attention has been paid to the topic of dehumanization of professional athletes in recent years, both in mainstream media and in academic literature. Even professional athletes themselves have begun speaking out on the issue. Nevertheless, the academic scholarship on this phenomenon remains sparse, with scholars yet to provide empirical evidence that sport fans do, in fact, dehumanize professional athletes. The current research fills this void by exploring fans’ implicit tendencies to view professional athletes as both machines and animals, with a particular emphasis on the marketing implications of this phenomenon. The results of the implicit association test (IAT) support the idea that participants view professional athletes as animals and displayed a negative association with athlete brand attachment. The findings advance multiple research lines and provide practical implications for sport teams and athlete brand managers.

Keywords: consumer behavior, consumer psychology, athlete brands, athlete dehumanization


Improving the Generalizability of the Effects of Sport Sponsorship on Brand Awareness: A Longitudinal, Multilevel Perspective

Authors: Jonathan A. Jensen and Jeremy Vlacancich

While the effects of sport sponsorship are widely researched, many studies suffer from a lack of generalizability and are oftentimes cross-sectional, given the challenges inherent in the collection and analysis of longitudinal data. This study seeks to remedy these issues by analyzing a longitudinal, heterogeneous dataset comprised of more than 500 sponsorships of North American sport leagues spanning 14 years. Results reveal an 8% increase in brand recognition in the first year following the initiation of the sponsorship. However, lagged variables indicate that the effect is reduced significantly after the second year. A second analysis confirms that effects are generalizable across multiple leagues and sponsorship categories. These results contradict the prevailing assumption that investments in sponsorship necessarily need to be long-term, suggesting that effects on brand awareness are more immediate and that effectiveness wanes the longer a brand remains a sponsor, representing an important and novel managerial contribution.

Keywords: sponsorship, sport marketing, sport analytics, longitudinal data, fixed effects


Consolidation of Concepts and Scales Examining External Activation Factors Affecting Sport Consumption

Authors: Galen T. Trail, Priscila Alfaro-Barrantes, and Yukyoum Kim

Throughout the sport management literature, a plethora of scales exist that measure constructs that impact sport consumption. Although the scales have different names and may be derived from different theories, many of them use the same items. We propose to consolidate those scales in order to create one unified scale. Specifically, the purpose of this paper was to determine whether Keller’s (1993) brand association framework (product attributes, non-product attributes, and product benefits) could consolidate the existing models and theories that purport to measure what impacts people to consume sport. The results suggest that Keller’s model could be modified to include two more categories (organizational constraints and brand management attributes). Also, applying PLS Path Modeling using cSEM showed that the proposed model explained more variance in sport consumption intentions than other models found in the literature.

Keywords: brand association framework, PLS path modeling, motivation, activation, sport consumer behavior, constraints


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