The Globalisation of Football: Fans as Consumers, Brand Loyalty and Identity

Bennett, Philip (2008) The Globalisation of Football: Fans as Consumers, Brand Loyalty and Identity. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)] (Unpublished)

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Since its humble beginnings as a rural British folk game, football has developed into a sport that is almost unrecognisable from its original form (Burdsey and Chappell 2003; Nauright 2004). Football was once a source of local and/or national identity (Giulianotti and Robertson 2004; McGuire 1999). Clubs are now frequently publicly owned companies that respond to market logic, cleverly and aggressively promoted in home and foreign markets in attempt to turn people into supporters and supporters into consumers (Madeiro 2007).

Football has increasingly become an institutionalised community of organisational actors that establish, maintain and transform the rules of business. Clubs are global brands, with apparently limitless opportunities for merchandising and profit making (Gammels¦ter and Jakobsen 2004). The dominance of a small group of clubs has created an uneasy tension between a profit-maximising understanding of football and a more community-oriented vision is increasing (Boon 2000; Milanovic 2003).

Coverage of sporting events has become an extremely important consideration for media companies wanting to attract viewers and advertisers (Williams 1993; Sandvoss 2003). The globalisation of media has allowed fans to follow their successful countrymen abroad, and also to become attached to foreign leagues, teams, and players (Nash 2000; Ben-Porat and Ben-Porat 2004)

Clubs looking to increase fan loyalty and make inroads into foreign markets can look to the example of other sports and consider an growing list of options (Hong et al 2005; Oppenhuisen and van Zoonen 2006; Manzenreiter 2004). Whether or not they are successful depends on how the club's brand image is perceived by both domestic and foreign fans (King 2000; Gladden and Kerr 2008; Kearney 2004).

The concept of globalised football is challenging the traditional notions of fan loyalty and identity, and also threatening the grass roots level of the game. The challenge of reconciling success with a positive brand image (Kearney 2004; Edensor and Millington 2008), fan loyalty with commercialisation (Gladden and Funk 2001; Jacobson 2004) and huge amounts of money with responsibility to poorer areas of the market remains the principal challenge of the globalisation of football (Madeiro 2007).

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2008
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2018 00:33

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