A new strategic component for European professional football clubs 1

Authored by: Aurélien François , Emmanuel Bayle

Routledge Handbook of Football Marketing

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138289321
eBook ISBN: 9781315267203
Adobe ISBN: 9781351972369


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Thanks to its exceptional popularity, professional football occupies a unique position in European sport. This is reflected in football’s dominance of media sports coverage, especially since the emergence of private television channels in the 1980s, and the sport’s extremely high earnings (Drut, 2014). In fact, the combined turnover of Europe’s professional football clubs has grown constantly for more than 30 years, reaching almost 20 billion euros in 2013 (Deloitte, 2014). This focus on the commercial side of the sport has led to European professional football being seen by many people as a symbol of financial capitalism, 2 a view that is reinforced by the headline-making transfer fees and salaries that have resulted from clubs investing most of the television rights bonanza in players’ salaries and transfers, especially since the Bosman ruling in 1995. 3 Nevertheless, professional football cannot be considered merely in commercial terms, as it is also a source of positive externalities for clubs’ local areas and for society as a whole. In fact, by creating jobs, providing a focus for local identities, and acting as a vector for social cohesion, professional football has always demonstrated a form of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This chapter examines present practices in football CSR and suggests ways in which these practices may evolve.

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