Conceptualising and measuring fan identity using stakeholder theory

Rui Biscaia, David Hedlund, Geoff Dickson, Michael Naylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
1060 Downloads (Pure)


Research question: Building on identity theory and stakeholder theory, this study explores the concept of fan identity based on self-perceived levels of power, urgency, internal and external legitimacy, and examines their effects on behavioural intentions.

Research methods: Data were collected from professional football fans (n = 532). A confirmatory factor analysis analysed the psychometric properties of the constructs, and a subsequent structural equation model examined the effects of fan identity on three behavioural intention measures.

Results and findings: The results indicate acceptable psychometric properties of the multidimensional construct of fan identity composed of power, urgency, internal legitimacy and external legitimacy. Power and internal legitimacy were significantly related to the intentions to attend more games and to purchase merchandise, with internal legitimacy also influencing intentions to recommend games to others.

Implications: This study provides the first exploration of fan identity as a multidimensional construct. The findings provide sport managers with useful insights on how to measure fan identity. This study serves as a catalyst for future research to understand the linkages between professional sport teams and their fans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-481
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Sport Management Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date31 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in European Sport Management Quarterly on 31st January 2018, available online:

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • Fans
  • professional sport teams
  • identity theory
  • stakeholder theory


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