Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

First Advisor

Bob Heere

Second Advisor

Khalid Ballouli


This three-study dissertation focuses on child fans of professional sport teams and the ways in which they become fans and attach themselves and connect to these sport brands. In Study 1, the researchers focused on the socialization into fandom of young children and the effects of communities and the game-day environment on this socialization utilizing qualitative observations and interviews with children ages 6 to 14 and resulted in an expanded understanding of the dame-day aspects that attract and excite children most. In Study 2, the researchers focused on the aspects of a new team’s brand that children ages 5 to 14 associate with a new team to better understand the important aspects of branding and marketing that impact children’s perceptions and connections to a sport brand. The researchers utilized drawings to understand the aspects of a brand that represented the team for these children and expanded the literature on team branding and imagery effective with young fans. Finally, the researcher focused on the abilities of children ages 5 to 18 to identify with and be loyal to sport teams given the choice to remain loyal through a choice experiment in Study 3. Results of this study highlight the differences between team identification and team loyalty as well as the differences in behavioral loyalty frequencies given different conditions.


© 2019, Katherine Rose Nakamoto Reifurth