Sport Team Brands

In its simplest form, a brand can be considered a name, symbol, design, trademark or a combination of all of the above that serves the purpose of distinguishing one product or service from another. Ultimately brand awareness and brand image influence brand success. The brand awareness component is related to the ability of consumers to identify the brand from their memory under different conditions. Brand image refers to the perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand associations held in consumer memory. Brand associations represent any attribute or benefit linked to a brand as perceived by a consumer. These associative links refer to tangible (Bayern Munich has a modern stadium) and intangible (watching Bayern Munich play helps me get away from my daily routine) descriptors the consumer links to the brand. Brand associations provide indicators to consumer knowledge of the brand (what I know about Bayern Munich) and the perceived favorability associated with a brand (I like Bayern Munich), and therefore influence brand selection and consumption (I own Bayern Munich merchandise and watch games). Below is an overview of my projects related to sport teams:


My research has investigated brand associations of sport teams.

Team Brand Associations and LoyaltyIn this research project, published in the Journal of Sport Management, my co-authors and I explored the development and stability of team brand associations and their influence on consumer loyalty. Analysis of longitudinal data indicates that brand associations can be developed through marketing communications without experiencing the team play competitive games. Furthermore, brand associations change based on changes of the environment (e.g., a new stadium), and they influence consumer loyalty in the future. Overall, this research project provides sport managers with insights on the development and change of brand associations new consumers link with sport teams.

Kunkel, T., Doyle, J.P., Funk, D.C., Du, J., & McDonald, H. (In Press). The development and change of brand associations and their influence on team loyalty over time. Journal of Sport Management. (ABDC List: A*) Download



My research has investigated consumer perceptions of sport teams.

In this research project, published in Sport Management Review, my co-authors and I explored the differing perceptions and identity responses that potentially exist in relation to one non-profit community sport organization (identification, apathy and disidentification). Results indicate that consumers’ existing values and beliefs, shared community values, local players, organizational practices and sport interest varied based on perception of organizational image and consumer identity. Findings show that understanding specifically what a sport organization’s audience expect is fundamental, if it is to be perceived as legitimate in relation to its purpose. Therefore, sport organizations should spend time understanding the values and beliefs that make them relevant to their audience. The organization examined in this research utilized the findings of this study to adjust their management approach and marketing messages.

Lock, D., Filo, K., Kunkel, T., & Skinner, J. (2013). Examining dimensions of legitimacy in community sport organisation, Sport Management Review16, 438-450 (ABDC List: A) Download



My research has investigated sport team legitimacy.

In this research project, published in the Journal of Sport Management, my co-authors and I developed the Capture Perceptions of Organizational Legitimacy (CPOL) framework, which is a three-stage process to measure the perceived dimensions on which constituents scrutinize a sport organization’s legitimacy. In stage one, the organizational context is defined to establish the classification, purpose, and relationship of the focal entity to its constituents. In stage two, qualitative data is collected to identify the perceived dimensions on which constituents scrutinized organizational actions. In stage three, a quantitative questionnaire is distributed to test perceived dimensions, which emerged during stage two of the CPOL framework. The framework provides researchers and practitioners with a context-driven process to measure consumers’ judgement of sport organizations.

Lock, D., Filo, K., Kunkel, T., & Skinner, J. (2015):  The development of a framework to Capture Perceptions of Sport Organizations Legitimacy, Journal of Sport Management. 29 (4), 362-379 (ABDC List: A*) Download