The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors that motivate Korean baseball fans to support Korean Major League Baseball (MLB) players and to identify the effects of the motivations on identification and behavioral loyalty.Design/methodology/approachData were collected using a self-administered questionnaire at three Korean universities. A model was designed to see which three motivations (commitment to Korean baseball, interests in MLB and ethnic identity) affect loyalty behaviors to support Korean MLB players. In the model, the mediating effect of player identification is set to the relation between the three motivations and behavioral loyalty. The moderating effect of team identification is also set to the relation between player identification and behavioral loyalty. Collected data (n=294) were first analyzed via confirmatory factor analysis to ascertain the factor structure of the study model. Then, the study performed a structural equation modeling which finds the magnitude and significance of each causal path among designed factors.FindingsAll the effects were found to be significantly positive except team identification whose moderating effect was not significant. Interests in MLB had the greatest impact on the fan’s player identification followed by commitment to the Korean baseball league and their ethnic identity. It was also found that the influence of player identification was positive on behavioral loyalty.Originality/valueThis work can help MLB expand their fan base internationally, especially in Asian countries.
Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 13, 2019
Keywords: Loyalty; Motivation; Team identification; Asian sport markets; Player identification; Sport consumers