Implications of Athlete Scandals: Effects on Athlete, Team, and League

Raj Devasagayam, Beth Rucinski, Lauren McGrath


This study explores the impact of an athlete’s personal scandal on consumer perceptions of the player, team, and league. A self-administered online survey was created based on past literature. A random sample of 263 respondents was obtained. Results indicate that an athlete’s actions that are viewed as inappropriate by consumers drive a negative view of that athlete as an individual, as well as the team they are associated with. However, consumer perceptions of the league remain unaffected. Consumers who find transgressors’ behavior inappropriate and develop a negative view of an athlete post-scandal are less likely to watch an athletic event starring the athlete and purchase a product endorsed by the athlete. However, if a consumer is a fan of an athlete or the team on which the athlete is playing, transgressions do not have as significant of an impact on the consumer. Our findings lead to managerial recommendations that managers should carefully consider as they consider how brand relationships with transgressing athlete subsequently impact team and brand image.

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Copyright (c) 2017 Raj Devasagayam, Beth Rucinski, Lauren McGrath

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