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How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy?

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par Eric Bailly
Staffordshire University (UK) - M.Sc. in European Management Strategy 2003
  

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4.2.5. Media

Media have to be considered in two parts: the media industry which invests money in football, show games, and the other part which is the press and newspapers.

3: The Bosman rule allow any player of European nationality to play for any club in Europe, as anyone is allowed to work for any company in any country within the E.U.

How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy ? September 2003

The media industry's main expectation is to make important audiences when showing games, which means to make financial profits. To achieve that, they expect that clubs will make efforts to produce games pleasant to watch, with competitive teams. The show has to be so attractive that people will pay to watch those games (pay-per-view system). Media also expect clubs to attract the most popular players and to `clean' the stadium from any violence or racism. Clubs have to develop a positive and `easy-to-sell' image. The other part of the media (the press) does not have the same expectations. Of course, the more popular football is and the more papers they will sell but the main expectation is to get original information. It does not mean to get official information from the club but information that would increase the sales. Press also needs football clubs news to fulfil some pages in everyday newspapers.

The media industry's power in football is major. First, this industry worked hard to improve the football image. According to British football clubs' managers, BskyB helped clubs to improve their structures, to get rid of violence and to improve British football's image so that it now attracts foreign players. BskyB also marketed the British football worldwide, which helped the clubs to develop commercial programs abroad (especially in Asia). Mr Weathley from Liverpool FC affirms that it even changed the way the game is played. All these improvements were realizable with the important amount of money media inject in football (Canal + for France and BskyB for England).

Media's influence is even more important in France because half of the club's income depends on the television deal between Canal + and the LFP. Media are major partners of football clubs. Thanks to their investment, they are allowed to schedule the games they want to show on television. Normally, clubs play on saturdays and sundays but some games are scheduled on fridays or mondays nights. Clubs have to accept these changes.

How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy ? September 2003

Although BskyB did not succeed when trying to buy Manchester United, media companies are involved as shareholders in football clubs. Liverpool F.C. is a good illustration of this investment. Ten percent of the club belongs to Granada TV. Granada TV also has a commercial deal with Liverpool F.C. concerning the exploitation of the club's licence. Granada TV bought the rights to exploit commercially the LFC licence. Those two organisations are also linked in a joint-venture to develop the website `liverpooltv', which involves new technologies. According to Sir Norman Chester Centre (2002), this deal is indicative of the new media/sport synergy. The press influence, although not as consequent, can be important. The press has the power to influence the public opinion, which means fans, sponsors, institutions... All the stakeholders read the newspapers (and trust most of what they read). So the press is able to create a positive image of a club, as well as a negative one. It can spread the discontent. As the official news from the clubs are not always consistent enough to fulfil two pages everyday, newspapers can develop minor information to `create' scandals or rumours. It can destabilize clubs.

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