Congruence of self-team characteristics and their impact on consumption behavior of the National Football League fans
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This study examined the congruence of self-team characteristics (i.e., characteristics shared by both fans and teams) and their impact on the consumption behavior of the National Football League (NFL) fans. The investigation was completed in two phases, involving both qualitative and quantitative research procedures. In Phase 1, a comprehensive review of literature, open-ended survey (N =104), and test of content validity via a panel of experts were conducted to identify characteristics displayed and shared by both NFL fans and teams. In Phase 2, with the data obtained from 559 survey respondents, exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and multi-group invariance analyses were employed to explore characteristics of fans’ perceived-self, desired-self, perceived-team, and desired-team, assess the impact of their congruence on fan behavior, and explore the moderating effect of team identity in the relationship models. As the results, the Self-Team Characteristic Scale was formulated and validated; four type of self-team congruence (i.e., perceived-self and perceived-team congruence, perceived-self and desired-team congruence, desired-self and perceived-team congruence, and desired-self and desired-team congruence) were identified to influence fans’ self-team connection and NFL consumptions; and the moderating role of team identity was partially confirmed. Research findings revealed the importance of NFL fans’ self-concept in their consumption behavior, offered specific implications for NFL teams to design, articulate, and promote self-team congruence in their characteristics, and provided useful evidence to further research investigations in such topical areas as sport branding, sponsorship, and consumer motivation.