Historically, Barcelona Football Club (BFC) has represented one of the pillars of Catalan identity, which earned it the slogan “more than a club.” In recent times, especially under the presidency of Joan Laporta, management has radicalized the club’s political positions by using BFC as a platform to openly promote the independence from Spain of the Catalan region. Despite the fact that most Barcelona fans in Catalonia, as well as in the rest of Spain, have much more moderate political positions, the radicalization of BFC does not appear to have eroded the relationship-building process with Barcelona fandom. This article argues that BFC as an institution still maintains a good relationship with its fans because the social, as well as individual, identity provided by allegiance to a soccer club such as BFC is ultimately more important to members and fans than the club’s political positions.
Real Madrid Football Club is today the richest sport team in the world and the third most valuable sport brand, according to the latest rankings (e.g., Deloitte, 2010; Forbes 2009). This scholarly commentary proposes the application of a relationship management model of building long-lasting relationships with fans as the main key of Real Madrid’s success. Results of this study highlight that, under the presidency of Florentino Pérez, a public relations approach has been integrated into every strategic decision including the recruitment of players with media appeal; the use of event planning, Internet, social media, promotional tours, and publications; and the display of Real Madrid’s own audiovisual media. The adoption of this model has proven successful despite poor sports results.