The current study introduces a psychographic variable, the self-sport brand-me relationship, as a mediator for better understanding of spectator sport consumption on television and the internet. The self-sport brand-me relationship refers to an individuals’ perceived self-identification or rejection of a relationship with a sport participation as an affective involvement as a primary expression of oneself. Using a quota and convenience sampling, 546 Taiwanese respondents from players in basketball courses, the audience in an indoor arena, and people who had experience watching basketball, completed self-administered questionnaires. The survey included three sections: age and gender, a scale measuring self-sport relationships (SSR) (8 items), and two modes (watching basketball games on television and the internet) of spectator behavior. The findings support the hypotheses that (1) self-sport brand-me relationships positively associates with watching sports on television and the internet, and (2) plays a mediating role on demographic influences on watching behavior. The variance of watching behavior in basketball is approximately explained by age and gender for 10%, whereas the model that includes the variable of self-sport brand-me relationship increases the explained variance to 34%. Nurturing such self-sport relationships serves to build sport markets by reducing the negative influence of some demographic categories on sport watching behavior. The self-sport relationships between self-images and images of desired sport participation reveal significant image congruence. This congruence recalls the prior experience of arousal in the sport participation and transfers this arousal into spectatorship, thereby increasing interests and experiencing more in watching the sport.
Key words: Basketball, brand-me, fan, spectator sport, sport participation, self-expression.
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