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Article
Publication date: 4 August 2021

Johannes Jaeger

Public debates and scholarly literature on football fandom are often characterised by generalisation and lacking differentiation. The changing ethnography of fans…

Abstract

Purpose

Public debates and scholarly literature on football fandom are often characterised by generalisation and lacking differentiation. The changing ethnography of fans, affected by the rapid commercialisation and internationalisation of the game, reinforces the demand for contemporary classification criteria and fan typologies that take the complexity and heterogeneity of fans into account and draw a more differentiated picture of fans and sub-groups.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the grounded theory methodology and a systematic literature review on stakeholder theory, stakeholder classification criteria and football fandom, the authors conduct and analyse 14 semi-structured expert interviews with fan managers employed by German professional football clubs. Building on the analysis, the authors identify, present and discuss ten contemporary criteria and five corresponding typologies for the classification of football fans.

Findings

The grounded theory analysis suggests that football fans can be characterised according to ten classification criteria. Building on the analysis, the authors derive five fan typologies that differ in their characteristics along the continua of the identified criteria. Typologies comprise (1) active fans, (2) consuming fans, (3) event fans, (4) corporate fans and (5) passive followers.

Originality/value

The paper enlarges prior knowledge on the behavioural and attitudinal characteristics of fans as individuals and adds knowledge regarding relationships within fan groups, and regarding formal and non-formal relations between fans and clubs. The results provide scholars with a framework for further scientific investigation and practitioners with a concept for a more sophisticated and differentiated approach to managing fan relations.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Book part
Publication date: 30 October 2020

Vanessa Ratten

Football is the world’s most popular sport and produces its own innovation ecosystem due to its linkage with economic, community and social endeavors. This chapter focuses…

Abstract

Football is the world’s most popular sport and produces its own innovation ecosystem due to its linkage with economic, community and social endeavors. This chapter focuses on the way football clubs are innovative in terms of new product, service, system and technology development. Increasingly due to the digitalization of the global economy, more football clubs are focusing on innovation especially that related to technology. Thus, it is important to understand the role open innovation plays in fostering collaboration among ecosystem members. In addition, due to many football clubs having a social responsibility to their community at local, regional and international levels, it is important to understand the role leaders play in facilitating innovation. Therefore, this chapter also focuses on the role of social innovation in football ecosystems.

Details

Sport Startups: New Advances in Entrepreneurship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-082-1

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2020

Daniel Plumley, Jean-Philippe Serbera and Rob Wilson

This paper analyses English Premier League (EPL) and English Football League (EFL) championship clubs during the period 2002–2019 to anticipate financial distress with…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper analyses English Premier League (EPL) and English Football League (EFL) championship clubs during the period 2002–2019 to anticipate financial distress with specific reference to footballs' Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

Design/methodology/approach

Data was collected for 43 professional football clubs competing in the EPL and Championship for the financial year ends 2002–2019. Analysis was conducted using the Z-score methodology and additional statistical tests were conducted to measure differences between groups. Data was split into two distinct periods to analyse club finances pre- and post-FFP.

Findings

The results show significant cases of financial distress amongst clubs in both divisions and that Championship clubs are in significantly poorer financial health than EPL clubs. In some cases, financially sustainability has worsened post-FFP. The “big 6” clubs – due to their size – seem to be more financially sound than the rest of the EPL, thus preventing a “too big to fail” effect. Overall, the financial situation in English football remains poor, a position that could be exacerbated by the economic crisis, caused by COVID-19.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are not generalisable outside of the English football industry and the data is susceptible to usual accounting techniques and treatments.

Practical implications

The paper recommends a re-distribution of broadcasting rights, on a more equal basis and incentivised with cost-reduction targets. The implementation of a hard salary cap at league level is also recommended to control costs. Furthermore, FFP regulations should be re-visited to deliver the original objectives of bringing about financial sustainability in European football.

Originality/value

The paper extends the evidence base of measuring financial distress in professional team sports and is also the first paper of its kind to examine this in relation to Championship clubs.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

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Article
Publication date: 24 April 2020

Florian Holzmayer and Sascha L. Schmidt

Professional football clubs have increasingly initiated two corporate diversification strategies to enfold growth opportunities besides traditional income sources…

Abstract

Purpose

Professional football clubs have increasingly initiated two corporate diversification strategies to enfold growth opportunities besides traditional income sources: business diversification and international diversification. Empirical findings from management and sport management literature provide inconclusive evidence on these strategies' financial performance effects, necessitating further research. The purpose of this article is therefore to investigate how both corporate diversification strategies affect the financial performance of professional football clubs.

Design/methodology/approach

A 15-year panel data set of English Premier League (EPL) clubs is examined, many of which have employed corporate diversification strategies. Measures for related business diversification (RBD) and unrelated business diversification (UBD) as well as international diversification are established from management literature. Based on fixed effects regression models, their effects on clubs' revenues and profitability are then examined.

Findings

U-shaped effects from RBD on revenues and profitability are found, but no effects from UBD. These findings empirically support the theoretically appealing superiority of RBD over UBD and, with increasing levels of RBD, over a focused strategy in management literature. With international diversification, an inverted U-shaped effect on revenues is identified.

Research limitations/implications

Despite focusing only on the EPL, these findings provide new evidence of non-linear financial performance effects from corporate diversification strategies adding to (sport) management literature and setting the stage for future research on these strategies in professional football.

Practical implications

These findings have significant implications for club managers' strategic growth opportunities such as new business models or geographic markets.

Originality/value

This is the first study to empirically examine the financial effects of corporate diversification strategies in the football market context.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2020

Stefan Prigge and Lars Tegtmeier

The aims of the research are twofold: (1) exploring whether football club stocks can be considered an asset class of their own; (2) investigating whether football stocks…

Abstract

Purpose

The aims of the research are twofold: (1) exploring whether football club stocks can be considered an asset class of their own; (2) investigating whether football stocks enable well-diversified investors to achieve more efficient risk-return combinations.

Design/methodology/approach

Using efficient frontier optimization, a base portfolio, with standard stocks and bonds, and a corresponding enhanced portfolio, which includes football stocks in the investment opportunity set, are defined. This procedure is applied to four portfolio composition rules. Pairwise comparisons of portfolio Sharpe ratios include a test for statistical significance.

Findings

The results indicate a low correlation of football stocks and standard stocks; thus, football stocks could be considered an asset class of their own. Nevertheless, the addition of football stocks to a well-diversified portfolio does not improve its risk-return efficiency because the weak performance of football stocks eliminates their advantage of low correlation.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to the evidence that investments in football are different from ‘ordinary’ investments and need further research, particularly into market participants and their investment motives.

Practical implications

Football stocks are not attractive to pure financial investors. Thus, football clubs need to know more about which side benefits are appreciated by which kind of investor and how much it costs to produce these side benefits.

Originality/value

To the best of authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to analyse the risk-return efficiency of football stocks from the perspective of a pure financial investor, i.e. an investor in football stocks who does not earn side benefits, such as strategic investors or fan investors.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Adam Szymoszowskyj, Mathieu Winand, Dimitrios Kolyperas and Leigh Sparks

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…

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Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

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.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to look at retail branding strategies of professional football clubs.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 6 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 11 October 2011

Benoît Senaux

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the increasing commercialisation of professional football in France, and its implications for clubs’ governance and management.

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1083

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the increasing commercialisation of professional football in France, and its implications for clubs’ governance and management.

Design/methodology/approach

A historical analysis using a narrative approach based on historical data from various sources, will allow for identifying the emergence of and shifts in institutional logics. Due to the role of the state in the subject in question, particular attention was paid to parliamentary documents.

Findings

Rather than replacing the former logic, a new commercial logic coexists alongside this, leading to institutional pluralism.

Research limitations/implications

The paper outlines the governance implications of institutional pluralism of football clubs; thus opening up new perspectives for future research on clubs’ governance. It does not, however, provide a response to these implications and therefore further research is needed to analyse how clubs’ managers can shape organisational identity and make it more consistent.

Practical implications

Governance and management issues in football might be explained by the multiple logics clubs are facing. Football clubs’ managers thus need to take these logics into account when addressing their key stakeholders, and have to work on shaping a consistent organisational identity.

Originality/value

This article is original in that it analyses the commercialisation of football as a move towards a more complex institutional pluralism, rather than a change in the dominant logic. This perspective is valuable for managers because it helps them to identify the levers they should work on to better manage clubs’ stakeholders. It is also useful for academics in terms of opening up new ways to conceive clubs’ governance.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 1 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 22 March 2019

Abdel Halabi

This paper aims to examine the social responsibility (SR) by Australian football clubs during the late nineteenth century. While there has been some contemporary research…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the social responsibility (SR) by Australian football clubs during the late nineteenth century. While there has been some contemporary research linking SR with sporting clubs, there is a dearth of such studies in the historical context.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses a qualitative approach and in the absence of annual reports, relies on The Suburban newspaper narratives of club annual general meetings (AGMs). The National Library of Australia’s newspaper digitisation programme was used which is a unique archive in management research.

Findings

Even though it was well-known that football provided a social outlet for watching games, this paper found clubs also engaged in a number of SR-related activities that benefited many stakeholders and the surrounding communities.

Originality/value

Deficient in much of the history of Australian football is the SR that clubs displayed to their stakeholders. This paper lengthens the historical SR literature for sporting clubs, and provides rich and detailed evidence of SR. While Australian football club histories continue to highlight winning teams, premierships and major personalities, their SR contribution is also significant and extends to the foundation of the game.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Petros Parganas, Roman Liasko and Christos Anagnostopoulos

Professional football clubs currently strive for a number of concurrent goals, ranging from on-field success to profit maximization to fan expansion and engagement. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Professional football clubs currently strive for a number of concurrent goals, ranging from on-field success to profit maximization to fan expansion and engagement. The purpose of this paper, theoretically informed by the social penetration theory, is to analyze the economics behind such goals and examine the association between team performance, commercial success, and social media followers in professional team sports.

Design/methodology/approach

A data set relating to 20 European professional football clubs that combines financial (revenues and costs), sporting, and digital-reach measures for three consecutive football seasons (2013/2014 to 2015/2016) was used. In addition, to elaborate on this data in terms of a descriptive study, the study constructs a range of correlation statistical tests and linear modeling techniques to obtain quantitative results.

Findings

The results indicate that all the three main sources of club revenues (match-day, commercial/sponsorship, and broadcasting) are positive drivers for Facebook followers. Staff investments (staff costs) are also positively related to Facebook followers, albeit to a lesser extent, while higher-ranked clubs seem to follow a constant approach in terms of their revenues and cost structure.

Originality/value

This study seeks to bridge the communication and sport economic research, providing evidence that Facebook followers are part of the cyclical phenomenon of team revenues and team performance. In doing so, it initiates a debate on the relationship between the digital expansion of a football club and its sports and financial indicators.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

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Article
Publication date: 10 May 2019

Yang Ma and Markus Kurscheidt

In 2017, the Chinese Super League (CSL), the first professional football division in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), became the highest-spending league in the…

Abstract

Purpose

In 2017, the Chinese Super League (CSL), the first professional football division in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), became the highest-spending league in the international players’ transfer market, with a total spending of €377m. Moreover, the government of the PRC is backing the CSL with an ambitious football plan. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to examine the governance of the CSL by questioning the organisational viability of the league.

Design/methodology/approach

In addition to the relevant international literature, this study is based on 14 recent scholarly articles published in Mandarin from 2013 to 2018 to reflect the national academic debate. Moreover, website research on all CSL clubs has been conducted. The institutional analysis follows the integrative change model of Cunningham (2002) complemented by agency and bureaucracy theory.

Findings

The CSL still faces substantial governance problems caused by the divergence of goal setting, organisational inefficiencies and compliance issues. The organisational change is notably constrained by internal competitive value commitments and external power dependency.

Research limitations/implications

The institutional findings on the CSL provide a starting point for empirical studies. The approach contributes to the theory of sport governance processes.

Practical implications

The material and insights are informative for decision makers to evaluate the competitiveness of the CSL.

Originality/value

This paper is the first international in-depth analysis of the governance of the CSL using the body of knowledge published in Mandarin.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

Keywords

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