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Understanding fans’ responses to the sponsor of a rival team

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Matthew GortonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Research QuestionWhat factors determine fans’ responses to the sponsor of a rival team? To what extent does higher in-group fan identification, more positive prior attitudes to the sponsor, and a more congruent fit between the sponsor and club, cause denigration or mitigate negative outcomes for the sponsor?Research Methods300 questionnaires were collected from fans of English Premier League (EPL) football teams Newcastle United and Sunderland allowed us to test our model of sponsorship responses. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to evaluate each hypothesis. Results and FindingsBrands will gain greater benefits from sponsorships deemed to be congruent with the rival team and where a higher pre-sponsorship attitude exists. More highly identified fans tend to pay greater attention to the sponsor of their rival team. We find that schadenfreude is a better predictor of affective and behavioural responses than fan identification, despite its popularity in recent research involving rival fans. ImplicationsBrand managers concerned about the size and scope of out-groups can employ our findings to more effectively configure sponsorship activities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Angell R, Gorton M, Bottomley P, White J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Sport Management Quarterly

Year: 2016

Volume: 16

Issue: 2

Pages: 190-213

Online publication date: 21/03/2016

Acceptance date: 17/12/2015

Date deposited: 18/02/2016

ISSN (print): 1618-4742

ISSN (electronic): 1746-031X

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/16184742.2015.1135975


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