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Professional football clubs and corporate social responsibility

Jens Blumrodt (ESC Rennes School of Business, Rennes Cedex, France)
Michel Desbordes (ISC Paris School of management, Paris, France)
Dominique Bodin (Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 12 July 2013



The subject of CSR is nowadays widely discussed, as is its relevance to the sport entertainment industry. The objective of this research was to investigate corporate social responsibility (CSR) actions in the professional European football league and its impact on clubs’ brand image.


The first part of this research discusses some particular points of the world's biggest sport entertainment, which is soccer. Then a definition of the meaning of CSR for this particular sector will be outlined. The CSR values adopted by sport clubs are observed in first division football in France. This approach has been combined with brand theories.


The specific research protocol evaluates consumers’ perceptions. The method which is developed measures and analyses the impact of CSR commitment on spectators’ brand perception. In linking CSR to brand image, two managerial viewpoints are discussed. CSR is synonymous with a company's social and ethical commitment. Brand theories outline the nature of brand equity. The authors apply these two complementary considerations to professional football clubs and argue that Keller's model of customer‐based brand equity has to be reconsidered for football clubs.

Practical implications

This research highlights that CSR has to become part of management strategies.


The authors draw attention to the argument that the professional sport entertainment industry requires a specific CSR management strategy which goes beyond the local level or the operational level of one single club. These clubs have to perform well in competition. But, as in no other industry, they have also to be “good” brands.



Blumrodt, J., Desbordes, M. and Bodin, D. (2013), "Professional football clubs and corporate social responsibility", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 205-225.



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