While some football clubs are recognised as popular brands, little is known about the way they leverage their brand in their merchandise retailing. To address this gap the purpose of this paper is to investigate retail branding strategies used by professional football clubs through brand equity and supply chain management. In particular, it analyses the type of product merchandised, the reasons for selling certain products and the ways through which football clubs merchandise, including their partners in distribution channels.
A qualitative approach was undertaken involving content analysis of 22 Scottish professional football clubs’ websites and annual reports, and semi-structured interviews with seven football clubs retail managers and four supply chain partners. Transcribed data were coded and thematically organised through an inductive process using the qualitative data analysis software NVivo 10.
Three types of merchandise have been identified: basic, fashion and short season. Building brand equity is considered the main motive for retailing merchandise. Some football clubs use intermediaries or outsourcers to respond to sudden consumer demands and to ensure high levels of service, whereas others have an integrated supply chain which allows for greater control.
This paper contributes to the discussion on the role of retailing in football club brand equity. It suggests initiating intermediaries in the distribution channels to build brand equity thus enabling clubs to become more responsive to consumer demand.
This is the first paper to look at retail branding strategies of professional football clubs.
The authors would like to thank Stephen Morrow for his assistance in writing this paper.
Szymoszowskyj, A., Winand, M., Kolyperas, D. and Sparks, L. (2016), "Professional football clubs retail branding strategies", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 6 No. 5, pp. 579-598. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBM-09-2016-0048Download as .RIS
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