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Although the practice of building brand equity in the context of professional sport teams is popular, the formation of sport team brand equity in the sport marketing literature is still relatively unknown and incompletely understood. In this study, the authors propose a dualidentification model to examine the formation of sport team brand equity in an Asia-based professional team sport setting. Baseball fans (N = 548) of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) in Taiwan participated in the self-administered survey. A Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Model analysis revealed that marketplace characteristics (including group experience, salient experience, team history, and fan rituals) and brandidentified-related factors (including self-congruity and team brand prestige) were significantly related to identification with sport team and identification with sport team brand, respectively. In turn, both identification with sport team and identification with sport team brand were significant predictors of sport team brand equity. These findings highlight the importance of studying a dual-identification model in order to understand how sport team brand equity forms and suggest implications for sport team managers.
In this study, we aimed to examine how dual-identification of identification with the team and identification with the team brand bridges the sport marketplace characteristics and brand identity-related factors on the formation of sport team brand equity. We did so with a particular focus on the Asian professional team sport setting. Results from PLS-SEM analysis confirmed the proposed dual-identification model and supported all but two hypotheses.
The major finding was that community group experience, salient group experience, team history, and fan ritual demonstrated a positive influence on identification with the team, which was in accordance with the previous findings in professional and collegiate contexts (e.g., Boyle & Magnusson, 2007; McDonald & Karg, 2014; Watkins, 2014). Moreover, theresult showed that fan ritual has higher path coefficient on identification with the team than community group experience, salient group experience, and team history does. The effect size of fan ritual on identification with the team is also larger than the other three antecedents. This indicated that fan ritual could be more influential on strengthening fans’ levels of identification with the team. The smaller effect size of community group experience, salient group experience, and team history on identification with the sport team indicated that focusing solely on each individual element may not have large enough effect on strengthening fans level of identification with the team, it is likely to considered these three factors simultaneously. The non-significant result of the relationship between venue and identification with the team was consistent with previous inconclusive findings in both Boyle and Magnusson’s (2007) and Watkins’ (2014) studies. This is perhaps because in Taiwan the baseball field/stadium is owned by local government rather than the home team, which may induce difficulties for teams in providing a unique experience that represents the sport team (see Underwood et al., 2001).