Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

The 'Ideal' Way to Generate Club Revenue

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

The 'Ideal' Way to Generate Club Revenue

Article excerpt

Since the 1980s there has been a huge change in the way sports events are financed, and this has fuelled a big debate among sports organisers, professional clubs, federations and marketing agencies about what a 'good balance' should be.

In England there are regular complaints that the direct spectator has become secondary to the indirect fan sitting at home watching TV, and we can see why. In March, an FA Cup fifth round match between West Ham United and Burnley was moved from a Saturday afternoon to a Monday evening for a pay-per-view TV channel. For Burnley fans this meant a 560-mile round trip on a Monday evening for what was essentially their biggest game of the season.

It appears that those who show the most commitment (i.e. the fans who travel to games, buy merchandise at the ground, buy tickets, create the atmosphere) have lower priority, and there is a greater burden on these supporters than ever before.

Obviously this position is not going to change soon, with TV broadcasting rights so important to the financing of the game. However, as both a sports marketing specialist and a football fan, I believe it is important to help these direct supporters wherever possible to make sure that the stadium atmosphere, which contributes to making the product so appealing to the TV companies, is not diluted.

In the German Bundesliga the price of the match ticket includes free travel on public transport to and from the game. Much of the reason for this is the importance of the direct spectator in the financing of the game, with the German model stating that 51% of each club's shares are owned by the club's supporters. With the principle stakeholders in charge, events day policies that benefit the fans are implemented, and I believe this helps explain why ticketing provides less revenue for Bayern Munich than for other European clubs.

Most reports on merchandising in Europe show that the Spanish La Liga's income through merchandising leads (although this is skewed by the power of Barcelona and Real Madrid), followed by the English Premier League and the German Bundesliga. …

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