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25.04.2018 | Original Empirical Research | Ausgabe 4/2018

Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 4/2018

Building and leveraging sports brands: evidence from 50 years of German professional soccer

Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science > Ausgabe 4/2018
Hauke A. Wetzel, Stefan Hattula, Maik Hammerschmidt, Harald J. van Heerde
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11747-018-0580-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Hauke A. Wetzel, Stefan Hattula, Maik Hammerschmidt and Harald J. van Heerde contributed equally to this work.
Vikas Mittal served as Area Editor for this article.


Although professional sports are a major interest for consumers and a soaring contributor to economic growth, very little is known about how sports brands are built over time and what makes some sports clubs’ market performance so much stronger than others. Based on a unique dataset of 40 German professional soccer brands tracked from 1963 through 2014, this research studies how the value drivers recruitment, winning, and publicity feed sales-based brand equity (SBBE) and attendance. One of the novel findings is that not only do strong brands benefit from higher levels of SBBE, but they are also able to leverage SBBE more effectively the longer they are on the market, which widens the gap between strong and weak brands across time. We also find that the effect of the value drivers on attendance evolves from direct to indirect via SBBE. Overall, the increasing brand leverage effect yields important implications for marketing theory and for sports brand management.

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