Football Clubs as Mediators in Sponsor-stakeholder Relations

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    Purpose: Far from all, football clubs can provide the same level of exposure effects as global football brands, even on local level, and many of these clubs also operate in a context of commercial immaturity. The purpose of this paper is to show what value a football club can provide for sponsors in a context of commercial immaturity with limited expected exposure effects.

    Design/methodology/approach: The study is based on a case study approach, taking its point of departure in two sponsor brand management paradigms, the projective and relational paradigm. The case of Malmö FF in the Swedish top tier league and the club’s official partners has been chosen to exemplify the commercially immature context.

    Findings: The study has shown that the most important value the club can provide for sponsors is to act as a mediator in sponsor–stakeholder relations. Exposure effects are subordinate to the relational effects sponsors achieve through their sponsorship.

    Research limitations/implications: The study indicates that the relational construct in the sponsorship literature should to a greater extent include sponsor–stakeholder relations, beyond the sponsor–club dyad, in a context of commercial immaturity.

    Practical implications: The results indicate that club management should engage in stakeholder management with a strong focus on stakeholders of sponsors to provide value for these sponsors.

    Originality/value: This study explores a new dimension to the relational construct of sponsorship, using the relational paradigm of brand management in a context of commercial immaturity. The mediating effect of the club is a contribution to the discourse on the relational construct.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSport, Business and Management
    Issue number4
    Pages (from-to)335-353
    Number of pages19
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Sponsorship
    • Value creation
    • Relationships
    • Football club management

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