How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy?
par Eric Bailly
Staffordshire University (UK) - M.Sc. in European Management Strategy 2003
Institutions are consulted by clubs for any major event, like move from stadium, but they also work together on many projects for the community. Liverpool also created a full colour Community Newsletter in order to improve communication on the work they do. Four thousand of copies are distributed twice in the season.
Institutions expect the clubs to develop solidarity within the community and to be an important economical actor. Archer (1995) and Mendelow (1991) recommend, through their model, that clubs should adopt an opportunist attitude towards institutions with minimum efforts. In France, this advice is followed: excepted some invitations to games, clubs do not really take care of institutions. This can also be explained by the decrease of forty-four percent over the past four years of the subventions R.C. Lens received from institutions. Economically, things are different. R.C. lens, for example, tries to work as much as possible with companies from the same industrial region. According to Maillard (2003), £20 million were spent locally, by the club, in the last two years and the club employs 240 people. The local taxes paid by the club are about £1.6 million per year. British clubs are more involved in the community: they organise stadium tours, stage soccer schools for children, they occasionally send their coaches to schools. Stoke City
F.C. even host birthday parties at the stadium! Liverpool F.C. built a youth academy at Kirkby to help children with the school work, it also works on an integration program set up for truants and delinquents. LFC spread also a part of its profits between local and national charities. According to Johnstone (2002), 3,000 full-time jobs in the Merseyside economy depend on the football industry and football is used as a competitive tool in the declining local economy. For every £1 spent by the clubs (LFC and Everton), £0.31 remains in the city of Liverpool.
Football clubs' top managers (often the presidents) are permanently communicating with the national football organizations because they organise the football competition and judge the conflicts.
How stakeholders influence football clubs' strategy ? September 2003
Theorists would consider those organisations as key players, and they are. Clubs do not really have to manage this stakeholders group because they have to comply with the decisions of the league. The only influence clubs may have on these stakeholders is through interests groups.
Football clubs have commercial departments to deal with the sponsors. They are often in contact with them to negotiate contracts, but they also meet them at the stadium on match day.
Sponsors expect to have a welcoming access to games, to increase their notoriety and to set up commercial promotions with the clubs. At R.C. Lens, the club installed special luxury rooms for their sponsors to negotiate business affairs and to invite their customers at the games. Felix Bollaert stadium has become a meeting place for the regional companies. The club also tries to always meet its 450 sponsors' expectations (Mendelow (1991) recommends keeping them satisfied) and works with them to develop commercial operations targeting fans. Liverpool F.C. has an old tradition of sponsoring: it was the first British club to have a shirt sponsor in 1978, according to Sir Norman Chester Centre (2002). The club is said to be in regular contacts with these stakeholders and it seems to be efficient: the clubs' main sponsor, Carlsberg, is a business partner for more than ten years and just signed a new three-year-deal worth up to £15 million over the next three seasons. LFC also keeps its equipments sponsor, Reebok, and has just signed a new contract with them. Less important clubs maintain their good relationships with their sponsors and these are often due to personal connections between top managers of both organizations.