Thilo Kunkel, Ph.D.

My view of the world

Ph.D. Student Position in Sport Business at Temple University

The Ph.D. program is structured in conjunction with the Fox School of Business and is AACSB accredited. Temple University is a Research 1 school; STHM is one of the top sport management programs; and the Fox School of Business has a strong reputation. Students join a highly productive department with a strong research focus and successful track record of placing graduates.  Research Focus and Advisor Dr. Kunkel’s research is positioned on the intersection of strategic management and marketing. He analyzes consumer data to help organizations build their brand, engage consumers, activate sponsorships and foster loyalty. The application of his research provides relevant stakeholders with solutions to improve the consumer experience, foster stakeholder engagement, and increase revenues. Dr. Kunkel regularly works with athletes, sport organizations, and brands; and is the CEO of a sport-technology startup focused on helping emerging athletes monetize their social media followers.  I am mostly interested in the following research topics, but open for other creative ideas: The Ph.D. Experience Students enrolled in the Tourism and Sport concentration work closely together in cohorts and individually with faculty on research projects and papers. The course work takes approximately two years and provides students with an appropriate blend of theoretical and methodological courses to support their research program. Each student will have a faculty mentor to offer guidance about research projects and advice on career development. Students also work as research assistants on existing projects with faculty and industry professionals as well as enter competitions to secure funding for their research. The program enables students to gain valuable classroom training through the Fox Ph.D. Student Teaching Academy and to serve as lecturers and teaching assistants. Throughout the program, students will have access to job skills workshops and professional development seminars to assist their efforts in applying for and interviewing for faculty positions.  Admission process There is no strict admission eligibility minimum for standardized test scores. Applicants should have a GPA of 3.5 or higher in any graduate work and score above the 75th percentile on the GMAT or GRE (verbal and quantitative combined) with Analytical Writing of 4.0 or higher. •In addition to standardized test results and prior academic performance, our admissions committees’ holistic review also considers an applicant’s prior research experience, personal career goals, and motivations for pursuing a Ph.D. at Temple, initial research interests within the concentration, and recommendation letters. The statement of purpose is part of the application process and is very important in evaluating each applicant. Students are encouraged to contact a faculty member in STHM to seek internal support for their application.  Financial Support We offer a full assistantship that includes a financial stipend of $30,000 per year on a 12-month basis for 20 hours of services as a research assistant and/or teaching assistant. The assistantship also includes full tuition coverage (value over $30,000) and excellent health insurance. Students will also receive $500 for a laptop or iPad and up to $1,500 per year for academic conference travel. The stipend, tuition remission, and health insurance are renewable up to three times for a total of four (4) years, contingent on satisfactory performance in the program. Qualified applicants also have the potential to receive an additional research fellowship worth $2,000-$5,000 per year. Students also have opportunities to submit internal grants to support research and data collection efforts. Timeline & more info Application submission: December 15th, 2020 More information: the school program current students If you are interested in learning more and seeing whether there is a fit, let’s connect and discuss.

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BY: REBECCA NAGY “YOUR FAN IDENTITY MAKES YOU A WORSE GAMBLER,” SAYS THILO KUNKEL, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT THE FOX SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND SCHOOL OF SPORT, TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT (STHM). “THE MORE YOU IDENTIFY WITH YOUR FAVORITE TEAM, THE WORSE GAMBLER YOU ARE IF YOU BET ON THAT TEAM.” Kunkel claims that favoritism impairs the accuracy of sports bets. For superfans everywhere, this may come as a surprise. However, through his research that involved data from a smartphone gambling application, over 500 soccer fans and nearly 54,000 sport-related predictions, Kunkel found that the biggest fans will overestimate the odds of their favorite team winning.  So, how can you compensate for your identity biases in order to win big? BLINDED BY BIAS INDIVIDUALS WITH VERY HIGH LEVELS OF TEAM IDENTIFICATION WERE LESS ACCURATE THAN THE MORE CASUAL FAN. Across the globe, “the big game” can take on many forms for sports fans. However, thanks to a movement of legalizing sports betting in the U.S., you can easily select a team you expect to win and put money on it. Most superfans will bet on their favorite team—call it superstition, juju or enduring loyalty. But this unwavering decision impairs your judgment, says Kunkel, because you underestimate the opposing team.  The study found that over 73% of app users predicted that their favorite team would win, but those teams only won 39% of the time. Kunkel concluded that individuals with very high levels of team identification were less accurate than the more casual fan. “Highly identified fans may believe that they are more likely to make accurate predictions based on their emotional bond with their team and experience of being loyal fans, instead of analyzing sport context knowledge thoroughly,” says Kunkel.  Together with Yiran Su, PhD ’19, and former student Sangwon Na, Kunkel published the study, called “Do not bet on your favorite team” in the European Sports Management Quarterly . The researchers anticipate that the findings will bolster fans’ ability to predict correctly—and help app developers improve the business of sports betting. As part of Kunkel’s research, he explores his interest in gamification with fantasy sport app developers. From his findings, he shares feedback to help monetize the apps. By adding features that enhance the user experience and help users improve their betting accuracy, Kunkel says developers could drive users to purchase a paid version of the app. For example, he suggests a virtual betting coach, who will guide users to place smarter bets. This type of gamification, he says, will help companies monetize the betting experience.  HOW TO BET SMARTER Kunkel recommends these three tips for smarter betting: acknowledge the bias, consider that you may be overestimating your favorite team and do more research. Through his research, Kunkel found that superfans put too much faith in their teams and think, “‘I know everything about the sport, I don’t need to do background reading,’” which clouds fans’ judgment. Kunkel even admits to favoring his teams from time to time. “I will still bet on my favorite team, but I will make sure I consider the other factors associated with it.” One reliable factor he always considers is the home-team advantage concept. When your favorite team plays at their home court, they are able to maintain their routine. “However, if they travel, there may be factors such as a different time zone, sleeping in a hotel or general lack of sleep that gives the away team the disadvantage.” While sports betting has yet to be legalized in all 50 states, Kunkel is optimistic about the widespread impact of his research. His study not only affects individuals placing smarter bets, but extends to improving gamified applications, and even sporting teams forming partnerships with fantasy applications. “We will see the betting industry becoming bigger and bigger within the U.S. And it’s not just the betting aspect, but also the gamified ways of engaging fans beyond the actual game-day experience.”

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Open Rank Tenure-Track Faculty Positions in Sport and Recreation Management

I have the great pleasure to chair the search for a new, awesome colleague starting August 2020. The School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) is soliciting applicants for one (1) open rank tenure-track faculty position.  The position will be housed in the school’s Department of Sport and Recreation Management. The Department is comprised a strong combination of research and teaching faculty, the Sport Industry Research Center (SIRC) and students across four academic programs (undergraduate, Master of Science, online Executive Master of Science, Ph.D. in Business with a concentration in Sport & Tourism). Qualified applicants should hold a PhD (or equivalent) in sport management or a related field. Preferred applicants will have: Active research agenda aligning with the broad areas of focus within the Department and School. Strong record of publishing in high-quality sport management journals. Ability or potential to secure external funding. Experience delivering superior instruction of sport management courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. Specific experience and/or a willingness to develop and deliver online courses. Strong quantitative skills and experience with big data or data analytics is also desirable. This appointment would begin effective August 2020. Review of applications will begin on November 4th 2019 and position will remain open until filled. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Temple University is a large urban university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. STHM is a self-standing school, affiliated with Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management, which offers a Ph.D. in Business Administration with a Tourism/Sport concentration. Applicants should submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, the names of at least three references, and other relevant supporting materials (e.g., sample publications) to Chair, SRM Faculty Search Committee (  For sustainability purposes, electronic applications are strongly encouraged.

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Comments on the Philadelphia 76ers Innovation Lab

I was recently interviewed by John George of the Philadelphia Business Journal about the 76ers Innovation lab. Below are my quotes that are featured in the article. Thilo Kunkel, an assistant professor of marketing and sport management at Temple University, is surprised more haven’t followed suit. “It makes sense for the 76ers,” Kunkel said. “They can leverage resources they already have in areas like social media and their knowledge in other areas like marketing and branding to help startups.” Kunkel said the owners of professional sports teams are also well-positioned to help emerging companies through their personal connections and the “financial and social capital” that goes with owning a pro sports team. It’s also likely, he said, people will want to invest in a sports team’s business accelerator company as a means of being associated with the sports team. He said the Sixers’ model, with its offer of free housing and free office space, likely won’t appeal to more mature companies that will not want to give up equity for a benefit they likely don’t need. The lab, Kunkel said, is structured to provide a lot of assistance to fledgling entrepreneurs. “I don’t think it actually cost teams a lot to do,” Kunkel said of accelerators. “And they can realize a lot of upside without a lot of risk.”

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The effect of the league brand on the relationship between the team brand and behavioral intentions – A formative approach examining brand associations and brand relationships

Understanding the role of the league brand on consumers’ support for individual teams is important for the successful management and marketing of both leagues and teams.  In the current research, brand architecture and brand association literature are integrated to examine the role of the league brand on the relationship between the team brand and team-related behavior. Data from an online survey of professional soccer league consumers (N = 414) were analyzed using structural equation modelling with bootstrapping procedures. The relationship between the team brand and team-related behavior was partially mediated by the league brand. Findings of this research contribute new knowledge by empirically demonstrating that characteristics of the league brand have an influence on team-related behavioral intentions. Furthermore, we contribute a different analytical approach for brand association research using formative indicators to measure team and league brand associations. In the managerial implications we outline how league managers can support individual teams, and how team managers can leverage off the league brand to attract consumers. Keywords: Brand Architecture; Brand Associations; Brand Relationship; Sport League; Formative Models; PLS Get your copy here:

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