Affinity and Affiliation: The Dual-Carriage Way to Team Identification, p. 67-77

Mark P. Pritchard
Jeff Stinson
Elizabeth Patton

This study examines if fan identification with a sports team is established through two similar yet distinct psychological processes: affinity and affiliation. The brand personality literature indicates consumers build an affinity with brands, or in this case teams, whose image is congruent with their own personality. On the other hand, consumers affiliate with and become attached to organizations they feel emulate and share their values. The current study examines the relative contribution team affinity and organizational affiliation, with the sponsoring university, play in forming student identification with an intercollegiate football team. Path analysis results confirm a proposed dual carriageway model but report the stronger role of affiliation in the context of college sports. Identification with a team was supported as a significant driver of fan intentions to attend games. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.