Sports team-identified fan relationships: a model of team identification and organization-publics relationships with attitudes and behavioral intentions
It is important that sport organizations establish good relationships with fans because it helps increase economic revenue and reputation. Therefore, public relations practitioners in sport organizations should pay attention to who their devoted fans are and maintain good relationships with them. The purpose of this dissertation is not only to investigate the direct influences among antecedent variables (duration of being a fan and sport media consumption), team identification, organization-public relationships, attitudes towards the team, behavioral intentions including attendance and purchase intentions, and gender as a moderator, but also to suggest a possible model including these variables. Social identity approaches, team identification, organization-public relationships, attitudes, and behavioral intentions are also thoroughly reviewed. A survey method, which was conducted through the Mechanical Turk, was used in this study. A total of 673 responses were analyzed. A path analysis in structural equation modeling (SEM) and a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and correlation were used. The path analysis proved the significance of the proposed model, which satisfied most indexes of the goodness of fit to the data. The results show that sport media consumption directly affects team identification and organization-public relationships, while duration of being a fan did not significantly influence organization-public relationships, and it had only a small effect on team identification. Moreover, degree of identification and relational perception of a NFL fan directly affect attitudes towards his or her favorite team. Finally, a person’s attitudes towards his or her favorite team directly affect not only his or her purchase intention of team-related products but also attendance intention. Among paths in the proposed model, only one path from attitude to attendance intention was significantly different between the male and female groups. In addition, the result of CFA shows that all factor loadings were significantly included in the model, even though some items in organization-public relationships measurement showed lower loading scores. A correlation analysis indicates that the following relationships between dimensions of team identification and organization-public relationships have significant and large correlations: behavioral involvement and trust, cognitive awareness and relationship commitment, interconnection of self (affect) and trust, interconnection of self (affect) and control mutuality, private evaluation and trust, private evaluation and relationship satisfaction, private evaluation and relationship commitment, public evaluation and trust, and public evaluation and control mutuality. Theoretically, the study shows a visual model of team identification and organization-public relationships including antecedents and outcome variables as well as suggests correlations among dimensions of team identification and organization-public relationships. Practically, the study offers implications to public relations practitioners in sport organizations by explaining the unique relational characteristics between sport organizations and their identified fans in various media environments.