Consumer-Athlete Brand Relationship: A Qualitative Exploration of Sport Fans’ Experiences

Olzhas Taniyev, Brian S. Gordon


Athlete marketing can have profound effects on sport fans. While the affinity for superstar athletes is clear, the internalization of brand image associated with high-profile athletes has received little scholarly attention. The central aim of this exploratory study was to understand sport consumers’ perceptions of the athlete brand and its influence on their self-concept. Seventeen purposefully selected members of an athlete-centered fan club took part in semi-structured interviews. The interview data revealed the following prevalent themes: athlete brand adoption, athlete brand devotion, city identity, and community engagement. Based on the findings, meaningful interactions with consumers and altruistic actions fostered the relationship between the athlete and his followers. The present study contributed to the research concerning the emotional bond sport consumers have with athletes and evolving literature on athlete brand management.

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International Journal of Business Administration
ISSN 1923-4007(Print) ISSN 1923-4015(Online)


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