Starting with a clean slate: An analysis of member identification with a new sports team

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Journal Article
Sport Management Review, 2009, 12 (1), pp. 15 - 25
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Soccer in Australia underwent a series of changes following a Federal Government inquiry into its future. A report into the Structure, Governance and Management of Soccer in Australia (2003) recommended a process of structural change, aimed at repositioning and re-branding soccer as association football. The restructure yielded the replacement of the National Soccer League with the A-League, five new Australian teams and a concerted attempt to separate soccer from its ethnic ties in the antipodes. This paper examines member identification in relation to a specific A-League club's members. Using the Sports Spectator Identity Scale (Wann & Branscombe, 1993) to measure sport fan identity in a new team context, a survey of club members of Sydney FC (n = 510), was undertaken. Survey findings indicated that members of Sydney FC reported relatively strong team identification in the first year of the new competition, with some nuanced differences based on age and income. The SSIS demonstrated a good level of fit in relation to a new sports team, although it is evident that rivalries and identification with a new team need time to develop fully. © 2009 Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand.
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