Host Country Brand Image and Political Consumerism: The Case of Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup

Claudio Rocha and Fiona Wyse

Th e aim of this study was to investigate whether 2018 FIFA World Cup (FWC) consumers would engage in political consumerism to reduce a perceived dissonance between host country (Russia) brand image and FWC brand attributes. Literature has associated Russia-hosted sport mega-events (SME) with violations of human rights. Drawing on cognitive dissonance theory, we investigate UK consumers (n = 417) on their per-ceptions about Russia’s brand image (cognitive and aff ective attributes) and FWC brand attributes before and aft er the event. Online questionnaires were used to collect data, which were analyzed via covariance-based structural equation modeling. Findings showed that intentions did not diff er from behaviors of political consumerism toward 2018 FWC products. Lower evaluations of aff ective host image attributes led to more political consumerism. Higher perceptions of the FWC attributes led to less political consumerism. Results inform FIFA (and possibly other SME owners) on how poor human rights practices (aff ective attributes) may aff ect the consumption of their products. Results also inform hosts about ineff ectiveness of associating themselves with brands like FWC without showing concerns about human rights.