Journal of applied sport psychology vol:20 issue:2 pages:165-183
In this questionnaire study it was tested to what extent identification with a merged basketball club could be predicted on the basis of six concepts derived from a social identity perspective on mergers. Respondents were 160 fans and 91 youth players of a Belgian first division basketball club that had merged the previous season. A direct multiple regression analysis indicated that, both for fans and youth players identification with the pre-merger club was the best predictor of identification with the new merger club, followed by the perceived success of the merger. Two other concepts emerged as significant, though modest, predictors of post-merger identification for fans and youth players: the perceived necessity of the merger and their satisfaction with the merger process. For the fans, the perceived continuity/representation of the in-group in the merger group was also a significant predictor. Together, the hypothesized predictors accounted for 70% of the total variance in their post-merger identification. This high percentage underlines the relevance of a social-psychological perspective on how sport fans' react to mergers. For youth players, 61% of the total variance in their post-merger identification was explained, which suggests that the processes that facilitate fans and youth players' post-merger identification are quite similar.