The development of “new” media and the financial investment in football since the early 1990s have dramatically changed the football club–media relationship. A number of clubs changed ownership and organizational structure for financial gain or financial survival while the increasing demand for immediate information led to clubs’ recognizing the importance of external communication. Drawing on 47 semistructured interviews with media personnel and 827 questionnaires completed by supporters at 4 football clubs, this article assesses the organizational structure of clubs in dealing with the media and supporters and the level of dependence between clubs and the external media. The results highlight changes in the organizational structure of clubs and their strategies for external communication, as well as the contrasting relationships between football clubs and the external media. As ownership and personnel changes occur, clubs should remember the importance of the 2-way relationships they are in with supporters and the media.
The author is with the Dept. of Sport and Exercise, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK.