Applying the Customer-Centric Model to the Investigation of Brand Communities of Professional Sports Teams
This study employs the customer-centric model of brand communities (including fan-fan, fan-management, fan-team, and fan-product relationships) to examine sports fans through the two lenses of team identification and fan loyalty and explore the effect of these constructs on fans’ behavior. The study used an online panel-based survey to collect data from 742 football fans. Also, the study utilized exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, and nomological network analysis to establish the validity and reliability of a new scale of fan-centric relationships of team sports clubs (TSCs). Utilizing structural equation modelling, it was demonstrated that all four levels of fan relationships significantly predicted both team identification and fan loyalty. Furthermore, both team identification and fan loyalty significantly predicted intention to attend games. Identifying and classifying the different levels of fan-centric relationships may provide TSCs with the potential to strengthen fans’ identification with and loyalty to the team and, consequently, increase consumption.