Club versus Country? An investigation into attitudinal and behavioural loyalty towards club and national football teams

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Abstract

A substantial body of literature acknowledges the peculiarities of brand loyalty in the context of football. Fan loyalty results in higher levels of attachment than is experienced with more typical consumer products. Almost all sport loyalty research has been conducted based upon followers of club level as opposed to international level teams. The loyalty of fans towards their respective club and national teams (referred to here as the "club versus country" debate) has however not previously been addressed via academic study. The current study has two objectives. Firstly, it seeks to understand the relationship between the loyalty of football fans towards their respective club and international football teams. Secondly, the study will investigate if loyalty towards either club or international football teams varies by club team division. The current study adopted a survey strategy, collecting data from 719 UK based football supporters from the four major divisions. Data is currently being analysed using structural equation modelling and will be ready for presentation at the conference should the paper be accepted. It is hoped the findings of this study will provide a further understanding of football fan loyalty, and be of particular use to marketers of international football competitions.

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