Self-Branding through NFL Team Fanship: Fans’ Desired Self-Image and Its Implications for Branding Practices

Jerred Junqi Wang
Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove
Thomas A. Baker
Bo Li
and James J. Zhang

Building upon the self-concept research and the model of motivation process, this study was designed to explore the self-images desired by National Football League (NFL) fans and examine the impact of such desires on fan behavior. Through three research phases, this study revealed the factor structure of fans’ desired self-image in NFL team fanship and confirmed its key role in influencing fan identity and team-related consumptions. In particular, athletic image sufficiently provided by NFL team fanship could stimulate positive fan behavior, whereas social attractiveness that was in a shortage would hold back team-related consumptions. Discussion focused on the implications for branding practices of sport teams, corporate sponsors, and professional athletes.