Sport Heroes as Sport Product Endorsers: The Role of Gender in the Transfer of Meaning Process for Selected Undergraduate Students

Ted B. Peetz
Janet B. Parks
Nancy E. Spence

This study explored the role of gender in the transfer of meaning from athlete endorser, to product, to purchase intentions for 150 sport management and kinesiology undergraduates. Most were 18-22-year-old (96%), European-American/White (91.3%), males (68%). Participants viewed photographs of Lance Armstrong, Mia Hamm, Michael Jordan, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee and were asked to identify and describe each athlete. Participants then indicated whether they considered each athlete an expert on products related to her/his sport and whether the athlete's endorsement would influence their purchase intentions. Repeated measures logistic regression analyses (¨¢ = .05) revealed that male endorsers were more likely to be identified correctly and to influence participants' purchase intentions. Male participants were more likely to correctly identify all endorsers. Gender differences also existed in participants' perceptions of endorsers' expertise and influence on purchase intentions. These findings, buttressed by meaningful measures of effect, suggest that gender plays an important role in the transfer of meaning for these members of the Generation Y market segment.