When a franchise buys a superstar, the team tends to win more games. But do the fans follow? How much team loyalty is purchased along with an expensive star? Maybe not as much as some owners might hope, like in the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, many fans expressed their dislike of the "bought" Miami team.
In a new paper published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Applied Social Psychology, researchers at the University of Kansas asked over 1,500 Americans how much they liked teams that purchased excellence and compared that with liking teams that built excellence from the ground up.
In each of five studies, people were willing to root more for the teams built over time than those assembled from free agency and deep-pocketed owners. People preferred teams of lawyers built with time and patience over those inviting in celebrities to shine and impress others.
It could also help explain people's endorsement of Cinderella teams in competitions like March Madness. People love to see 'unknown' teams who work hard beat highly ranked teams with top one-and-done recruits.