A Study of Satellite Fans’ Existing Team Identification and Attitudes Toward a New, Local Franchise: A Case Study of UK-Based National Football League Fans
Sports teams have become global brands developing strongly identified ‘satellite’ fans who are distant from the team’s local market. There is a paucity of studies examining how satellite fans preemptively perceive the idea of a franchise being established in their local market. Using quantitative and qualitative survey data, the current study examines 597 UK-based, American National Football League fans’ team identification with current franchises and their attitudes toward a hypothetical new London-based franchise. The results of multiple linear regression, chi-square analysis, and thematic analysis indicate (1) team identification strength is significantly predicted by domain identification, years of fandom, vicarious achievement, London game attendance, and team playing style and (2) there is low likelihood that fans would want or support a local franchise. However, identification with London may encourage team-switching and certain fan segments contravened team identification theory expectations. Implications of the findings for marketers strategizing international growth are discussed.