'Taking the pulse of a new football franchise': team identification and the Melbourne Heart FC in Australia's A-League
Soccer & Society
Taylor & Francis
School of Business and Law
In a bid to revive soccer’s fortunes in Australia, the A-League was created whereby private franchises represented the country’s major cities. This article examines the Melbourne Heart FC and the emotional attachment of members during its first two seasons. A survey methodology was used to identify attitudes towards the brand and the Sport Spectator Identification Scale (SSIS) measured their identification with the franchise. There is conclusive evidence that strong levels of identification can develop quickly for a new team, yet three of the scale’s items made a weaker contribution. There is also a suggestion that identity is multi-layered. New sport teams need to build awareness and a fan base, however, while the SSIS has been used extensively to study established teams, its application to a newly-formed football club is less common. This article discusses how members of a new franchise in Australia’s A-League quickly developed a strong emotional attachment.