Brand equity in team sports: The FC København case study

Ceren Arigil & Vittorio Pennazio

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis contributes to the study of brand management in sports, in particular football, through the definition of a comprehensive set of brand associations in team sports and by providing managers with a powerful tool to measure, understand and enhance the brand equity of their clubs. In team sports, on-the-pitch results are important, though not the only component in determining the success of a club. Professional sports, football among all, have evolved into world-scale industries; hence, clubs should be considered as brands in all respects. Professional and customer-oriented brand management is therefore a necessity to ensure their commercial success and long-term viability. Such approach emphasises the importance for managers to understand and measure what determines the strengths and weaknesses of their clubs’ brands for their customers, and how marketing strategies are vital for nurturing brand equity and capitalising it. Since football fans show levels of loyalty and involvement higher than customers in any other industry, an ad hoc approach to the study of brand equity in necessary. In order to understand the antecedents of brand equity, a set of 18 brand associations in team sports was developed by unifying different academic contributions. An extensive online survey has then been administrated to 487 football fans, asking them to evaluate their supported teams on different aspects relating to those 18 associations. An adapted version of the BrandAsset Valuator® model was used to re-classify the results and measure the current consumer-based brand equity for FC København (FCK), main case study, and other six clubs (Brøndby IF, Juventus FC, Udinese Calcio, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and FC Barcelona). Finally, a benchmark analysis was performed among those teams to identify which marketing actions FCK can undertake to increase its brand equity and benefit from it. The study of brand equity in team sports is a relatively new discipline, whose current state-of-the-art is mainly focused on brand associations. This thesis contributes to the body of knowledge by proposing a new comprehensive set of brand associations and by offering a managerial framework to measure brand equity. Furthermore, the study revealed the interrelation dynamics among different brand associations and to which degree marketing has potential to influence each of them.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages143