Pan, Polin, & Joe Phua (Forthcoming). Connecting Sponsor Brands through Sports Competitions: An Identity Approach to Brand Trust and Brand Loyalty. Accepted for publication in Sport, Business, Management: An International Journal.
Abstract: This paper examines the interplay between sport fandom and brand perceptions in the context of sport sponsorship. The effects of sport fans’ self- enhancement strategies: Basking in reflected glory (BIRGing) and cutting off reflected failure (CORFing) were investigated in response to how sport fans connected with a sponsor brand, as well as whether brand trust and loyalty were activated. An experiment was designed in Study 1 to examine immediate effects of team performance and sport fandom on fans’ connection to the sponsor brand, while an online survey was conducted in Study 2 to investigate joint effects of team performance and game venue on fans’ brand trust and loyalty. Study 1 found that both team performance and sport fandom yielded significant effects on fans’ connection to the sponsor brand. Specifically, fans with higher fandom reported significantly greater connection to the sponsor brand after a win, while fans with lower fandom exhibited significantly lower connection after a loss. Study 2, meanwhile, found that team performance and game venue yielded significant main and joint effects on sponsor brand trust and loyalty. Fan identification also mediated the joint effects of team performance and game venue on both sponsor brand trust and loyalty. This paper verified the vigorous roles of BIRGing and CORFing in influencing sport fans’ perceptions of sponsor brands. Theoretical and practical insights for sport sponsorship are discussed.