Brand Environments and the Emergence and Change of Awareness for New Sports Teams: A Two-Wave Examination

James Du
Christopher M. McLeod
and Jeffrey D. James

In this paper, we examined how brand environments and pre-existing attachments create brand awareness of a new sport team. Using a two-wave panel design, this study used a new sport team in the US as a natural experiment to examine the changes in awareness before and after the team’s debut. We collected data from a sample of 190 representative city residents. Our results showed that brand awareness increased by 39.2% after the team played the inaugural game. We attributed the driving forces behind this change to a preseason branding campaign and individuals’ existing connections with sport-based objects. Consistent with our hypotheses, the findings also revealed that (a) individuals who were repeatedly exposed to brand information had a higher rate of change in brand awareness and (b) brand environments and brand awareness represented two mediation pathways through which pre-existing attachments exerted positive influences on consumption behaviors.