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International activities of football clubs, fan attitudes, and brand loyalty

Daniel Maderer () and Dirk Holtbrügge ()
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Daniel Maderer: Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg
Dirk Holtbrügge: Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nürnberg

Journal of Brand Management, 2019, vol. 26, issue 4, 410-425

Abstract: Abstract Like in many other areas, football clubs are confronted with the challenge to expand international activities and to exploit new football markets abroad without upsetting the local fans who have supported the team, often for decades. The purpose of this study is to analyze the impact of fan attitudes toward the internationalization of football clubs on attitudinal and behavioral loyalty. Based on the integration-responsiveness framework and the brand loyalty concept, seven hypotheses were tested through multivariate regression analyses against a sample of 3857 football fans from 10 different countries. The results show a negative impact of internationalization activities that create tension among local fans on attitudinal loyalty, such as business activities, players and coaches, and owners. However, the results show no significant impact of such activities on behavioral loyalty. In contrast, the internationalization of fans and sponsors does not create tension and thus has a positive impact on attitudinal and behavioral loyalty. The relationships between internationalization activities and fan loyalty are partially moderated by the fans’ country of residence. By linking internationalization strategies to the brand loyalty concept, this research contributes to the discussion about standardization and adaptation advantages, and to the discussion on antecedents of brand loyalty. This study helps club managers to plan their internationalization activities effectively. The approach to segment customers into satellite and local fans helps managers to devise segment-specific internationalization activities.

Keywords: Integration-responsiveness; Standardization; Adaptation; Brand loyalty; Emerging markets; Football (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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