The role of self-brand connection on the relationship between athlete brand image and fan outcomes

Thilo Kunkel, Rui Biscaia, Akiko Arai, Kwame Agyemang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (SciVal)


This research explored the role of athlete on- and off-field brand image on consumer commitment toward the athlete and associated team, preference by the athlete’s sponsor, and the mediating effect of consumers’ self-brand connection on these relationships. Data were collected from fans of soccer players through a cross-sectional survey promoted on social media platforms. A partial least squares structural equation model examined the direct effects of both athlete brand dimensions on athlete commitment, team commitment, and athlete sponsor preference, and the indirect effects mediated via self-brand connection. The results indicate that an athlete’s on-field image is significantly related to athlete sponsor preference, while the off-field image influences athlete commitment and team commitment. Self-brand connection is influenced by athlete off-field image and mediates the relationship between off-field image and athlete commitment. This study contributes to a better understanding of how to manage athlete brands and linkages between fans, athletes, and associated entities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-216
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sport Management
Issue number3
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to the associate editor and three anonymous reviewers for their invaluable feedback in shaping this article. The research was supported by the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Human Kinetics, Inc.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Brand associations
  • Fan commitment
  • Spill-over effects
  • Sponsorship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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