Spectator loyalty towards sport organisations – the creation of truly new fan relationship management

Research output: Doctoral thesisResearch external, graduation external


The rationale of the study is to broaden the knowledge on the contemporary sport spectator’s relationships with sports teams and sport governing bodies. By including the spectator, the team, and the governing body in a holistic Fan-Relationship- Management-Model, this study gives insights in the formation of loyalty within the spectator-team-governing body-triad. A structural equation modelling approach is used to test, refine and validate the model among samples of four hundred fifty-five and five hundred five football spectators from France and Germany. Further, a latent profile analysis is implemented to uncover spectator profiles based on a two- dimensional loyalty conceptualisation. Additional latent profile analyses with covariates from the model, allow identifying variables that facilitate profile belongingness. The final model revealed major country-specific differences in the relationships within the spectator-team-governing body-triad. In both samples we found non-loyal, latent loyal, and loyal spectators. For France, however, satisfaction and trust do not contribute to loyalty; a notable contradiction to the established marketing literature. This study is useful to appreciate a sport governing body’s role in the spectator-team relationship. Also, it offers new perspectives on spectator profiles and encourages the implementation of a credibility variable when investigating relationship management in sports. Overall, the study’s holistic approach in analysing relationships and loyalty is unique in the sport marketing literature.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Lyon, Claude Bernard University Lyon 1
  • Bodet, Guillaume, Supervisor, External person
  • Martinent, Guillaume, Co-supervisor, External person
Award date4 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


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