Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant professor in sport management, Faculty of physical education and sport sciences, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran.

2 Professor in sport management, Faculty of physical education and sport sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

3 M.Sc. in business management, university of Esfahan


Formation of fan-team identification can pay the way for development of sport team brands and reinforcing fan base and economic base of sport teams. The purpose of the current study was to provide a model from the formation process of fan-team identification among football fans in Iran. The research method was descriptive – survey and a practical one, and the data was collected by using a combination of Batacharia & Sen’s distinction identity, similarity identity, and prestige identity survey, Ahearn et al’s attractiveness identity, and Meal & Ashforth’s fan-team identification survey. The research population consisted football fans in Iran and based on a pilot study a sample of (n=344) was selected through random sampling. The validity of questionnaire was verified by using comments of experts in sport management and the reliability of the total questionnaire was found to be 0,86 according to Chronbach’s alpha. The conceptual framework of the current study was a hypothesized model involved identity distinction, identity similarity, identity prestige, identity attractiveness, and fan-team identification. To measure the validity and fitness of the model, Structural Equations Modeling (SEM) has been applied. PLS and SPSS18 were used for data analysis. The results showed that among the four casual relationships, all directions except to the direction of similarity identity to attractiveness identity were verified.


  1. Jaberi A, Soltan Hosseini M, Nederian M, khazaei pool      J. Providing a model for developing football teams’ brand loyalty of pro      league in IRAN by applying SEM. Journal of Sport Management, 2014;      6(3): 475-492.      [In Persian]
  1. Wann DL, & Branscombe NR. Sports fans: Measuring degree of identification with their team. International Journal of Sport Psychology. 1993; 24: 1-17.
  2. Mael F, Ashforth BE. Alumni and their alma mater: A partial test of the reformulated model of organizational identification. Journal of organizational Behavior. 1992 Mar;13(2):103-23.
  3. Sutton WA, McDonald MA, Milne GR, Cimperman J. Creating and fostering fan identification in professional sports. Sport Marketing Quarterly. 1997 Mar;6:15-22.
  4. Laverie DA, Arnett DB. Factors affecting fan attendance: The influence of identity salience and satisfaction. Journal of leisure Research. 2000 Jun 1;32(2):225-46.
  5. Kwon HH, Armstrong KL. Factors influencing impulse buying of sport team licensed merchandise. Sport Marketing Quarterly. 2002 Sep 1;11(3).
  6. Jaberi A, Soltanhoseini M, Naderian jahromi M, khazaei pool j. Comparing the motivations of fan-team identification among the fans of established sport teams and new sport teams (Case study of Sepahan and Gitipasanad fans). 12th International Sport Sciences Congress, Denizli / Turkey. 2012: 1317.
  7. Fournier S. Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research. Journal of consumer research. 1998 Mar 1;24(4):343-73.
  8. Bhattacharya CB, Sen S. Consumer–company identification: A framework for understanding consumers’ relationships with companies. Journal of marketing. 2003 Apr;67(2):76-88.
  9. Puddifoot JE. Psychological reaction to perceived erasure of community boundaries. The Journal of social psychology. 1997 Jun 1;137(3):343-55.
  10. Stets JE, Burke PJ. Identity theory and social identity theory. Social psychology quarterly. 2000 Sep 1:224-37.
  11. Fink JS, Trail GT, Anderson DF. An examination of team identification: which motives are most salient to its existence?. International Sports Journal. 2002 Jul 1;6(2):195.
  12. Ashforth BE, Mael F. Social identity theory and the organization. Academy of management review. 1989 Jan 1;14(1):20-39.
  13. Wann DL, Waddill PJ, Polk J, Weaver S. The team identification–social psychological health model: Sport fans gaining connections to others via sport team identification. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice. 2011 Mar;15(1):75.
  14. Tajfel H, Turner JC, Austin WG, Worchel S. An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. Organizational identity: A reader. 1979:56-65.
  15. Gwinner KP, Eaton J. Building brand image through event sponsorship: The role of image transfer. Journal of advertising. 1999 Dec 1;28(4):47-57.
  16. Fisher RJ. Group-derived consumption: the role of similarity and attractiveness in identification with a favorite sports team. Advances in Consumer Research. 1998; 25(1): 283-8.
  17. Carison BD, Donavan DT. Concerning the effect of athlete endorsements on brand and team-related intentions. Sport Marketing Quarterly. 2008 Sep 1;17(3).
  18. Tajfel H, Turner JC. The social identity theory of intergroup behavior'In: Worchel. Psychology of Intergroup Relations, 2nd edn, Nelson-Hall, Chicago. 1985.
  19. . Ahearne M, Bhattacharya CB, Gruen T. Antecedents and consequences of customer-company identification: Expanding the role of relationship marketing. Journal of applied psychology. 2005 May;90(3):574.
  20. Brewer MB. The social self: On being the same and different at the same time. Personality and social psychology bulletin. 1991 Oct;17(5):475-82.
  21. Cucka M. Establishing Your" Smart" Equity. Consulting to Management. 2005 Jun 1;16(2):21.
  22. Osborne RL, Cowen SS. High-performance companies: the distinguishing profile. Management Decision. 2002 Apr 1;40(3):227-31.
  23. Bergami M, Bagozzi RP. Self‐categorization, affective commitment and group self‐esteem as distinct aspects of social identity in the organization. British Journal of Social Psychology. 2000 Dec;39(4):555-77.
  24. Arnett DB, German SD, Hunt SD. The identity salience model of relationship marketing success: The case of nonprofit marketing. Journal of marketing. 2003 Apr;67(2):89-105.
  25. Pratt MG. Central questions in organizational identification. Identity in organizations. 1998 Jul 21:171-207.
  26. Bhattacharya CB, Rao H, Glynn MA. Understanding the bond of identification: An investigation of its correlates among art museum members. Journal of marketing. 1995 Oct;59(4):46-57.
  27. Dutton J, Dukerich J, Harquail CV. Organizational images and membership commitment. Administrative science quarterly. 1994;39(2):239-63.
  28. Currás-Pérez R, Bigné-Alcañiz E, Alvarado-Herrera A. The role of self-definitional principles in consumer identification with a socially responsible company. Journal of business ethics. 2009 Nov 1;89(4):547.
  29. Tajfel H, Turner JC, Austin WG, Worchel S. An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. Organizational identity: A reader. 1979:56-65.
  30. Schwalbe ML, Mason-Schrock D. Identity work as group process. Advances in group processes. 1996;13(113):47.