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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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4.2.8. Sponsors

Sponsors have important commitment in football. Sponsors associate their name with football clubs to benefit from their popularity. Sponsors expect notorious brand recognition, so this increases with the teams performances. When a team is successful, it attracts more fans in the stadium and its games are shown on television. An association with a successful team is an obvious benefit for sponsors.

How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy ? September 2003

They also associate their image with the clubs' image, so they expect football clubs to maintain a respectful image. Sponsors also invest money in football to get new business opportunities and they expect clubs to help them to develop special commercial program. It is the case with R.C. Lens, where Nike and Orange target the densest and youngest region in France to increase their notoriety and gain market shares, according to Laugier (2003). Another expectation from sponsors is that they want to meet the players and to make their customers to meet the players as well. They also expect advantageous access to the games.

The influence on clubs they have comes from the help they bring. It is not always financial. The sports brands like Nike, Adidas or Umbro supply the sports materials to clubs (shirts, shoes, soccer balls...) to benefit of brand exposure on the pitch. They also add financial investments for first division clubs.

Of course, sponsors do not seem as vital for English clubs as for French ones, but they are an important part of clubs income. They also provide presents for players like cars, watches and others.

4.2.9. Players' agents

Football players' agents are people who help football players to manage their career, in counterpart of financial commission. They expect from football clubs the best working condition for their players, a pleasant welcome at the club and that all their players needs will be satisfied. It is supposed that when a player has no upset, his performance on the pitch will be at the top. Agents wish their players to become popular and to play in notorious clubs.

How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy ? September 2003

On the other side, agents expect clubs to be ready to negotiate with them and to buy their players.

Agents do not have much importance on clubs' strategy, but they are essential in any transfer. As intermediaries, agents cost money to clubs because they ask for a financial retribution on each player's transfer from a club to another. A positive element coming from agents is that they manage with all the administrative forms, the salary negotiations (...), so the clubs do not have to. They also can promote some exceptional players to clubs. As good players are rare, to work with agents may be a way to improve clubs' team. On the other side, agents can convince a player not to join a team because its managers were not respectful enough with agents.

4.2.10. Other clubs

Other football clubs are considered as competitors, and they are. They have the same expectations as any football club: to attract more fans, more sponsors, to win competitions... As their expectations are the same, a club cannot get any benefit from another.

First, they compete on the pitch and a team's success depends also on the other team's failure. Team's performance depends on the others. Clubs also compete to buy the best players. Moreover, for example, Liverpool F.C. and Everton are located in the same city and competition between those clubs is sportive but not only: they negotiate to get the same subventions from institutions, they compete to attract fans (merchandising, pricing...). So, football clubs' mission is to improve themselves at each level to outclass competitors.

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