Development of a scale to evaluate the branding effect of major league baseball in Taiwan
The purpose of the present study was to develop a league brand association scale from the perspective of Taiwanese toward Major League Baseball (MLB). A mixed methods approach, including a qualitative pilot study (thought-listing and semistructured interview) and an Interne survey, was used to explore brand associations Taiwanese media consumers currently hold toward MLB. The entire research followed the steps of multi-item scale development proposed by Hair Jr., Black, Babin, Anderson, and Tatham (2006). The thematic analysis was conducted to identify the underlying themes behind the interview in order to develop the potential scale. The data collected through the Internet survey were analyzed through Principal Component Analysis (PCA), item-to-total correlations, and inter-item correlations (Cronbach’s alpha coefficients) to ensure the validity and reliability of the scale. Overall, this study targeted Taiwanese MLB media consumers (i.e., no in-person MLB game experience) between 20 and 45 years old. Multiple criteria were set to screen participants’ eligibility on both data collections. In total, 699 participants met the criteria. MLB Taiwanese Brand Association Scale (MLBTBA) with 12 brand associations was constructed through Taiwanese media consumers whom were at least team followers (i.e., medium consumers). A method of evaluating the involvement of “satellite fans” was inferred. The scarce match between the MLBTBA and the league brand associations of Kunkel, Funk, and King (2014) both revealed the uniqueness of the MLBTBA and suggested the exclusivity of league brand associations. Through Keller’s (1993) Customer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model, 12 brand associations of the MLBTBA were categorized into two types. A negative brand association (Performance Enhancing Drugs) and a comparative brand association (League Role Model) may both be discovered for the first time throughout the inquiry of brand association in professional sport. The discovery of the negative brand association may suggest a direction in expanding Keller’s (1993) CBBE model. The discovery of the comparative brand association may also add to the combined knowledge of Keller’s (1993) CBBE model and Kerr and Gladden’s (2008) “satellite fan”. Through MLB Taiwan brand architecture, the MLBTBA was identified as a league-team scale. Finally, three levels of MLB branding strengths in Taiwan were outlined.