Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 591–611 | Cite as

Building and leveraging sports brands: evidence from 50 years of German professional soccer

  • Hauke A. WetzelEmail author
  • Stefan Hattula
  • Maik Hammerschmidt
  • Harald J. van Heerde
Original Empirical Research


Although professional sports are a major interest for consumers and a soaring contributor to economic growth, very little is known about how sports brands are built over time and what makes some sports clubs’ market performance so much stronger than others. Based on a unique dataset of 40 German professional soccer brands tracked from 1963 through 2014, this research studies how the value drivers recruitment, winning, and publicity feed sales-based brand equity (SBBE) and attendance. One of the novel findings is that not only do strong brands benefit from higher levels of SBBE, but they are also able to leverage SBBE more effectively the longer they are on the market, which widens the gap between strong and weak brands across time. We also find that the effect of the value drivers on attendance evolves from direct to indirect via SBBE. Overall, the increasing brand leverage effect yields important implications for marketing theory and for sports brand management.


Brand leverage Sales-based brand equity Brand age Brand building Recruitment Winning Publicity Sports marketing 



The authors thank Torsten Bornemann, Till Dannewald, Ossama Elshiewy, Johannes Hattula, Walter Herzog, Ajay Kohli, Dominik Papies and Sungho Park for their helpful comments and suggestions for improvement. The authors thank kicker Sportmagazin and Sportfive for providing data.

Supplementary material

11747_2018_580_MOESM1_ESM.docx (199 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 199 kb)


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massey Business SchoolMassey UniversityAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Marketing DepartmentUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of Business and EconomicsUniversity of GoettingenGoettingenGermany

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