Toward a Better Understanding of Parent Versus Local Team Branding in Minor League Baseball

Matthew J. Bernthal
Khalid Ballouli
Nicholas Nugent

This research examines the effects on team loyalty of two minor league branding strategies, naming the team after its parent major league team or naming it after the local community in which it exists. We propose a mediation model in which four constructs (i.e., team identification, social bonding, community group experience, and pride in place) mediate effects of brand type on team loyalty, predicting that local branding will generate stronger team loyalty through these constructs. We also propose that place identity moderates the mediating effect of each of these four constructs. Structural equation modeling was used to test the mediation model, and moderated mediation tests using the bootstrapping method were used to test the moderating effects of place identity. Results revealed support for the model, indicating partial mediation of brand type effects on team loyalty for each of the four constructs, as well as a moderating effect of place identity.