“Say hello to Halo”: the halo effect in sports

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In daily life, people tend to use mental shortcuts to simplify and speed up their decision-making processes. A halo effect exists if the impression created by a dominant attribute influences how other attributes of an object or subject are judged. It involves a cognitive bias that leads to distorted assessments. However, the halo effect has barely been researched in a sports-related context, although it can substantially contribute to understanding how sport fans think and behave. The objective of this paper is to answer the question that is of interest for both theory and practice of sports marketing: Is there a halo effect in sports? Does the sporting success or failure of a professional soccer team radiate or even outshine other sports-related and non-sports aspects and influence or distort how the club is perceived by its fans? Fans of six soccer clubs selected from the first German soccer league Bundesliga were interviewed. This paper presents the results of an empirical study based on a data set consisting of a total of 4,180 cases. The results of the analyses substantiate the distortion of the fans’ perception with regard to a very diverse range of aspects that is triggered by the sporting success or failure of their favorite club.

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    • Figure 1. Visualization of correlation of assessing sporting performance and satisfaction with the design of the jerseys
    • Figure 2. Visualization of correlation of assessing sporting performance and satisfaction with the job of the Federal Government
    • Figure 3. Visualization of correlation of assessing sporting performance and assessing individual happiness
    • Table 1. Composition of the sample
    • Table 2. Assessment of sporting performance
    • Table 3. Cross-tabulation of assessment of sporting performance and satisfaction with the design of the jerseys
    • Table 4. Results of Chi2-tests concerning sports-related aspects
    • Table 5. Results of T-tests concerning sports-related aspects
    • Table 6. Cross-tabulation of assessment of sporting performance and satisfaction with the job of the Federal Government
    • Table 7. Results of Chi2-tests and T-tests concerning non-sports aspects
    • Table 8. Cross-tabulation of assessment of sporting performance and assessment of individual happiness
    • Table 9. Result of Chi2-tests and the T-tests concerning the assessment of individual happiness
    • Table 10. Assessment of sporting performance differentiated by teams