The case of the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China raises an important issue with respect to transnational venue management corporations embedding and operating in foreign markets. The purpose of this paper is to examine how Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) has implemented social embeddedness strategy to influence the management structure and enhance operational performance of the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
A case study approach was chosen to examine the social embeddedness of AEG through the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. An in-depth interview was conducted with John Cappo, the President and CEO of AEG China, in April 2016. In addition, the relative news and interviews of leaders from AEG and AEG China over the past ten years was also collected. Qualitative content analysis of the data was conducted through a coding approach. All the materials were coded into three main categories based on three aspects of social embeddedness: local stakeholder relations, reputation and trust-building, cultural and institutional adaptation.
AEG has demonstrated how a transnational venue management corporation can successfully integrate social embeddedness strategy with the management structure and operational procedures of the Mercedes-Benz Arena in three ways. First is through the relationship between AEG and its partners in the joint venture, OPG in terms of the enforcement of the contract, the clear division of responsibilities, and the mutual understanding and use of relationship building. Second is the relationship between AEG and the local government in Shanghai. Third was adapting the structures of AEG to fit within local culture and institutional contexts.
The unique multi-stakeholder relationship inherent to venue management in China raises important questions with respect to transnational venue management corporations operating in foreign markets. The adaptation to the local context, as a moderating factor to the institutional exposure of a venue management company involves more challenging obstacles for non-local firms, compared to firms which are familiar with their institutional context. Understanding the key solutions in building relationships and trust with partners in joint venture and local government, as well as the key methods to adopt in local contexts, have applications across any number of sport industries.
This work was supported by the Fund for Fostering Academic Freshmen in the Liberal Art Field from Universities in Shanghai (Grant Number xsxr2013003).
Yao, Q. and Schwarz, E.C. (2017), "Transnational venue management corporations and local embeddedness: A case study on the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 70-80. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSMS-05-2016-0008
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