Branding and governance in sports. Best papers from the “Managing Sport” tracks at the EURAM Annual Meeting in Istanbul 2013

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 7 October 2014



Dolles, H. and Soderman, S. (2014), "Branding and governance in sports. Best papers from the “Managing Sport” tracks at the EURAM Annual Meeting in Istanbul 2013", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 4 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Branding and governance in sports. Best papers from the “Managing Sport” tracks at the EURAM Annual Meeting in Istanbul 2013

Article Type: Guest editorial From: Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 4

A brand is a promise each organization can make to its customers. This promise is built on the coherence and continuity of the brand’s products or services that customers experience every time they are in contact with that brand. In this regard, well-known brands can generate more positive market outcome than brands that are less well known because of their tangible and intangible attributes, but mostly because of the trust consumers have in these more established brands. This holds true for the development of the European Academy of Management (EURAM) and its 13th annual conference what was held 26-29 June 2013 in Istanbul (Turkey) as well as for the development of the EURAM Strategic Interest Group (SIG) on “Managing Sport”. In its fifth year since the inauguration of the Sport-Track at EURAM conferences the SIG on “Managing Sport” has emerged as a growing (not only) European network of academics, practitioners, athletes and sport officials whose interests revolve around aspects of internationalization, professionalization and commercialization of sports in theory and in practice.

The SIG on Managing Sport also started to function as a catalyst for building and disseminating new ideas around the business of sports, attracting a sustainable amount of high quality full-paper submissions each year to keep the track running and producing a consistent stream of publications in Sport, Business and Management (see the special issues edited by Dolles and Söderman, 2011, 2012; Senaux, 2013) as well as the anthology on Sport as a Business (Dolles and Söderman, 2011) and the Handbook of Research on Sport and Business (Söderman and Dolles, 2013). We are grateful to Emerald Group Publishing for continuing the strong bonds between Sport, Business and Management and the Managing Sport-SIG also by sponsoring an annual best paper award and a best reviewer award. The best paper award in Istanbul was presented to Ashlee Morgan, Daryl Adair, Tracy Taylor and Antoine Hermens (University of Technology, UTS Business School, Sydney, Australia) for their paper entitled “Sport sponsorship alliances: relationship management for shared value”. The best reviewer award was presented to Emilie Malcourant (Education Physique Kinésithérapie et Réadaptation, Faculté des Sciences de la Motricité, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain, Belgium). The Award Committee included Christos Anagnostopoulos (as former best reviewer), Mathieu Winand (as former best paper winner) and Benoit Senaux (as Programme Chair). We wish to thank them and all the reviewers of the track for their excellent work. The activities of the SIG also included keynote speeches by high-profile sports practitioners, for example, Ms Ebru Köksal, board member at Galatasaray SK, General Manager of Galatasaray Sportif A.. and Member of the Executive Board of European Club Association presented at the conference in Istanbul her personal insights into the challenges of Turkish football in general and Galatasaray in particular are facing at the moment. She also took the perspective of being one of the very few females active in leadership positions in top of European club football, that without her passion for the game and without her professional background as a financial analyst her career would not have been possible.

Istanbul with its unique position that bridges Europe and Asia and with its multicultural history was the ideal place for exploring and discussing the various ways how sport is governed, marketed, consumed and managed across the globe. Participants from North America, Australia, New Zealand and several European countries stimulated different ideas about the role governing systems with its institutional mechanisms designed both with operational and normative functions on the one hand and the sport consumers with their consumption and purchasing power on the other hand play to push “sport production” forward. The traditional western-based strongholds of sport production and consumption are arguably losing influence in today's globalized world. In the same way as the globalization process of many other societal sectors, the power of sport is becoming diversified as emerging economies – like China, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, Qatar and many others – move forward to get their share of the profits and prestige that the sports industry might offer. For understandable reasons this will result in future changes in sports governance and leadership, new approaches to branding and how to reach sport consumers globally, and a critical reflection about managerial practices in the sport industry. With this focused issue we aim to contribute to this discussion. In addition to the award winning paper on “Sport sponsorship alliances: Relationship management for shared value”, we selected the following four paper for this special issue. These are André Richelieu and Stéphanie Lessard on “Long gone the glory days – is branding of any help?”; Daniel Högele, Sascha L. Schmidt and Benno Torgler on “Superstars and disloyal football fans: factors influencing attraction to competition”; Reidar J. Mykletun and Maira Rumba on “Athletes’ experiences, enjoyment, satisfaction, and memories from the Extreme Sport Week in Voss, Norway” and “Potential agency problems in European club football? The case of UEFA Financial Fair Play” by Mathias Schubert.

In the award winning paper “Sport sponsorship alliances: relationship management for shared values” the authors indicated that both formal and informal governance were critical to the relationships underpinning sponsorship alliances. From a dyadic perspective, it was found that the satisfaction of sponsorship partners had two key elements: tangible commercial benefits from the sponsor-sponsee alliance, and the less tangible but nonetheless valuable relationship support within the partnership. This paper highlights variables that generate value and help to maintain alliance stability for improved sponsorship governance. While focused on a single case study, the findings by Ashlee Morgan et al. have implications for research in the field of sponsorship, brand leverage and to the area of business-to-business relationships in sports.

In the second paper, André Richelieu and Stéphanie Lessard identified the catalysing factors team managers of previously successful European football clubs could capitalize on in order to build or rebuild the brand identity of their respective team via the Europa League. Fans derive strength and pride from their affiliation with a team. Success is essential for building and leveraging a brand but is not enough for building brand equity; that is why a team should count on attributes that transcend the sporting performance. Brand equity is strategically vital to organizations but unfortunately very difficult to measure. From an academic point of view, this study sheds light on the strategic management of the brand in the context of sports, where branding is a strategic leverage which requires managerial actions.

In the third paper Daniel Högele, Sascha L. Schmidt and Benno Torgler assume that new customers are often the previously loyal customers of competitors to whom they have become disloyal. It is surprising that antecedents of disloyalty or switching behaviour have hardly been researched so far. Högele et al. explore the factors that attract fans of competing teams and those which prevent existing fans from being attracted to competition (i.e. from being disloyal). The theoretical framework includes team identification, behavioural loyalty, recent team performance and the presence and attraction of superstars. The study provides evidence that superstars as branded athletes, both attract new fans and contribute to the retention of existing fans. While the presence of superstars, team loyalty and team identification prevent football fans from being attracted to competition, the team's recent performance seems to have no effect.

The fourth paper by Reidar J. Mykletun and Maira Rumba investigates one of the world's most important sporting events in extreme sports, the Ekstremsportveko in Voss (Norway). It is a hybrid event with a large range of sports competitions during daytime, and a social program including also a music festival, during the evening and night hours. This event caters to many people’s tastes: national and international athletes who are performing extreme sports at world championship levels, visitors who like to watch extreme sport performances, and people who enjoy different kind of music and opportunities for a good party time during the festival. Thus the event relies on coproduction between the organizer, the social environment, and the participating groups analysed in this paper. The research questions addressed by the study are: how are athletes developing their interest for and engagement in the extreme sports to an extent that they become participants in the Ekstremsportveko? What are the roles of social ties in these developmental processes? Further, what type of experiences are the dominating ones, and how do they contribute to the enjoyment, satisfaction and memories of the event? What is the role of excitement in augmenting these outcomes? What managerial implications in regards to enhance the brand of the event can be drawn from this knowledge?

The focus of the fifth paper by Mathias Schubert is UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations analysed by means of principal-agent relationships: UEFA (principal) as owner and organizer of the Champions League und Europa League requires from the clubs (agents) to adhere to FFP if they want to take part in these competitions. The purpose of the paper is to cast further light on the relationship between UEFA and the clubs as the main actors of FFP and to derive normative implications to UEFA to improve the efficacy of this regulatory intervention. The paper demonstrates that the relationship between UEFA and the clubs corresponds in many aspects to a classic principal-agent problem. A potential conflict of interest between both actors is outlined which together with asymmetric information creates incentives for opportunistic behavior on the part of the clubs. The FFP regulations are also a vivid illustration of sport being influenced by developments and certain trends in society. While politics is increasingly concerned with a more effective regulation of the financial markets (e.g. EU banking supervision), also UEFA’s advance reflects the spirit of the times by attempting to counteract the increasing over-indebtedness in European club football with means of an enforced central regulation.

Professor Harald Dolles, Molde University College, Molde, Norway

Professor Sten Söderman, School of Business, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden


Dolles, H. and Söderman, S. (2011), Sport as Business: International, Professional and Commercial Aspects, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke

Dolles, H. and Söderman, S. (2012), “Evaluating and measuring: applying a management perspective on sports: best papers from the ‘Sport as Business’ – Track at the EURAM Annual Meeting in Tallinn 2011”, Sport Business and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 174-176

Senaux, B. (2013), “Best papers from the ‘Sport as Business’ – Tracks at the European Academy of Management (EURAM) Annual Meeting in Rotterdam 2012”, Sport Business and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 264-267

Söderman, S. and Dolles, H. (2013), Handbook of Research on Sport and Business, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham

Further reading

Dolles, H. and Söderman, S. (2011), “Managing sport: governance and performance: best papers from the ‘Sport as Business’ – Track at the EURAM Annual Meeting in Rome 2010”, Sport Business and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 214-218

About the Guest Editors

Harald Dolles is a Professor in Sport Management at the Molde University College, Specialized University in Logistics, Molde (Norway) and Professor in International Business at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg (Sweden). Harald frequently contributes to scientific development in the fields of International Business, Asian Studies and Sports Management. In this regard, he has a publication stream of articles and books, most recently Asian Inward and Outward FDI: New Challenges in the Global Economy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, with Alvstam and Ström); Handbook of Research on Sport and Business (Edward Elgar, 2012, with Söderman); Sports Management and Mega Events: J-League Soccer and Mega-Sports Events in Asia (Bunshindo, 2012, with Takahashi, Hayakawa and Söderman); Sport as a Business: International, Professional and Commercial Aspects (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011, with Söderman). Harald chairs Strategic Interest Group on “Managing Sport” within the European Academy of Management (EURAM). Professor Harald Dolles is the corresponding author and can be contacted at:

Sten Söderman is a Professor in Emeritus of International Business at Stockholm University, Stockholm Business School (Sweden). Previously he was a Professor at Luleå University of Technology and a Business Consultant Specializing in Startups (in Manila, Geneva and Brussels). His research has focused on Market Strategy Development and Implementation and is currently on the International Expansion of European Firms in Asia and the Reverse and the Global Entertainment Economy. He is the author and editor of many books, case studies and articles. His most recent publications include Football and management (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); Handbook of Research on Sport and Business (Edward Elgar, 2013, with Dolles); Sport as a Business: International, Professional and Commercial Aspects (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011, with Dolles). Söderman is immediate past Chair of the European Academy of Management (EURAM) Strategic Interests Group on “Managing sport”.

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