Thilo Kunkel, Ph.D.

Brand Architecture, Drivers of Consumer Involvement, and Brand Loyalty with Professional Sport Leagues and Teams

Understanding brand relationships as perceived by consumers is important for the successful management and marketing of connected brands.  Brand architecture and consumer behavior literature was integrated in this study to examine brand relationships between professional sport leagues and teams from a consumers’ perspective.  Online questionnaire data were gathered from football consumers (N = 752) to test the influence of leagues and teams on consumer loyalty.  Consumers were segmented into three theoretically identified sport brand architecture groups: league dominant, team dominant, and co-dominant.  Findings of CFA, MANOVA, paired-sample t-tests, frequency analysis, chi-square and linear regression analysis revealed that leagues and teams were in a co-dominant relationship with one another.  Results revealed the brand architecture of leagues and teams as perceived by consumers, provide a reliable and valid tool to segment sport spectators, and showcase the influence of external factors on consumer loyalty with a team.  Suggestions for league and team management and marketing are presented to better leverage their brand relationship and increase consumer loyalty with both brands.

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Academic research that can help the sports industry

Can academic research help sports industry?  In the latest issue of the Sports Business Journal (August 12 – 18, 2013, Volume 16, Issue 17) senior writer Bill King addresses the question how academic research can help the sports industry. Bill King makes the argument that academic research has a lot to offer to the sports industry.  He highlights six articles that are beneficial for sports practitioners – one being the article “Brand Architecture, Drivers of Consumer Involvement, and Brand Loyalty with Professional Sport Leagues and Teams” (Kunkel, Funk, & Hill, 2013) published in the Journal of Sport Management. Obviously, I am very proud that my article received a mention as being relevant for the sports industry.  Hopefully, both league and team managers will find value in finding out more about the brand relationship of their entities as perceived by consumers, to leverage their close relationship.  

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