Fan Community Identification: An Empirical Examination of Its Outcomes in Japanese Professional Sport

Masayuki Yoshida
Brian Gordon
Bob Heere
and Jeffrey D. James

Understanding why sport fans socially interact with other fans, participate in team-related discussions, recruit new members, and retain membership in sport fan communities is an important issue for sport marketers. In this study, we tested a model of fan community identification that included outcome and moderator variables in the contexts of two major professional sport leagues (soccer and baseball) in Japan. Based on the results, in both settings, fan community identification had positive effects on team brand equity and four fan community-related consequences: fan community engagement, customized product use, member responsibility, and positive word-of-mouth. Furthermore, the impact of team brand equity on positive word-of-mouth was strengthened by consumers’ participation in fan loyalty programs. The theoretical model and results add new insights that advance our understanding of fans’ collective feelings of friendship and camaraderie in sport fan communities.