Identifying emotions associated with sport team brands and testing its impact on sport consumer behavior in the advertising setting
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As sport teams with strong brands can enjoy a loyal fan base as well as increased gate revenue, brand studies in sport have paid close attention to sport teams' brand attributes (e.g., success, star player, stadium) as key drivers to create strong brands. However, sport consumers do not only rely on the brand attributes' utility in their team consumption, but claim and anticipate positive and personally meaningful emotional experiences. Nevertheless, a number of studies on sport branding have not identified what kinds of emotions are associated with sport teams and what their impact is. As a result, the affective nature of sport team brands remains largely unexplored. This study sought to identify how emotions associated with sport team brands are structured, from the sport consumers' perspective, and to examine the relative effectiveness of the associated emotions over brand attributes on consumer behavior in the sport advertising setting. The study identified seven key dimensions of emotions associated with sport team brands: connectedness (passion, nostalgia, supportive, and connected), elation (happy, excited, pleased, proud, optimistic, and entertained), competitiveness (competitive and aggressive), surprise (amazed, surprised, and astonished), anger (annoyed, frustrated, and rage), unhappiness (suffering, sad, regret, and dejected), and worry (fearful and anxious). Connectedness, elation, and competitiveness each was positively related to sport consumer behavior while surprise, unhappiness, and worry each was negatively related to it. Interestingly, anger had a dual (positive and negative) relationship with sport consumer behavior. The study tested the relative effectiveness of emotions over cognitive brand attributes on sport consumer behavior in a sport advertising setting using a 2 (emotion: high vs. low) x 2 (cognition: high vs. low) incomplete block design. The study found that emotional advertising works better for sport teams than rational advertising whereas combination advertising works at least equally or better than rational advertising. These results suggest the primacy of emotions over cognitive brand attributes in the context of sport advertising. Given the findings and discussions, implications for sport marketing practice and future research are discussed.