Examining Differences among Primary and Secondary Rivals: Are Fan Perceptions, Behavioral, and Consumption Intentions Influenced by Degree of Rivalry?

  • Cody T. Havard The University of Memphis
  • Lamar Reams Old Dominion University


The current study investigated how the relevance of a rival influences perceptions and behavioral intentions toward the rival and favorite team.  In particular, fans of intercollegiate athletics reported their (1) perceptions of a rival team, (2) willingness to consider committing anonymous acts of aggression toward rival participants and fans, and (3) likelihood to consume their favorite team when playing either a primary and secondary rival team.  Results indicated that fans were less likely to support their primary rival when playing another team than when their secondary rival was playing another team, believed fans of the primary rival team behaved more poorly than fans of the secondary rival, and experience more satisfaction when their favorite team defeated the primary rival than the secondary rival.  Additionally, fans were more willing to consider committing anonymous acts of aggression toward participants and fans of the primary rival than the secondary rival, and were more likely to wear favorite team merchandise and read about the favorite team when they played a primary rival compared to a secondary rival.   Discussion focuses on implications and applications for marketing practitioners.  

Author Biographies

Cody T. Havard, The University of Memphis
Cody T. Havard, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Sport Commerce in the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management at The University of Memphis. His research interests involve fan and consumer behavior, with a specific focus on how fans perceive rival teams. Please refer any questions or comments to chavard@memphis.edu. 
Lamar Reams, Old Dominion University
Lamar Reams is an assistant professor of Sport Management at Old Dominion University.  His research interests include combat sports, consumer behavior, and sport marketing.  
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