Social-media platforms have become an important tool for sport marketers to communicate their brand image and engage with fans. This study analyzed 1,115 Facebook posts and 16,308 tweets from 10 of the most valuable European professional football clubs to identify the range of brand associations communicated and the level of online fan engagement. Statistical analysis captured correlations between and among selected brand attributes, time periods of posts (in and off-season), and levels of fan engagement. On both Facebook and Twitter, football clubs posted more frequently during the season, while content associated with product-related attributes was the focus of such communication. Product-related content was found to generate higher levels of online fan engagement. The study extends the literature on sport teams’ brand management through social media and offers practical recommendations on how to enhance fan identification and engagement and ultimately make financial and reputational gains.
Daniel Maderer, Petros Parganas and Christos Anagnostopoulos
Stefan Walzel, Jonathan Robertson and Christos Anagnostopoulos
Professional team sports organizations (PTSOs) are highly influential in our society. They can both positively and negatively shape the public discourse around responsible norms of behavior. The purpose of this article is to describe and critically review the literature on PTSOs’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) to develop a comprehensive understanding of current and future research directions in the field. Our analysis reviewed articles on CSR within PTSOs and identified publication year; geographical dispersion; journal type; sports contexts; social issues investigated; research approaches and methods; and how CSR was conceptualized, defined, and theoretically supported. The findings indicate that CSR within PTSOs has primarily been investigated in community programs, using qualitative research methods and pragmatically conceptualizing CSR on the basis of return on investments to the organization in European and North American contexts. Our discussion provides a critical review of the literature before outlining avenues for future research and practice.
Dimitrios Kolyperas, Christos Anagnostopoulos, Simon Chadwick and Leigh Sparks
Despite the increasing number and significance of charitable foundations in various business sectors, their role in cocreating corporate social responsibility (CSR) value remains unclear. This paper identifies CSR value cocreation in professional team sport organizations (PTSOs) and answers three key research questions: (a) Why have PTSOs developed charitable foundations as their means toward CSR value cocreation? (b) What CSR-related resources do PTSOs and their charitable foundations integrate? and (c) How do they manage, share, and transfer such resources to cocreate CSR value? Drawing theoretical insights from service dominant logic and consumer culture theory—and using empirical data from 47 semistructured interviews of UK-based professional football (soccer) clubs—this study develops a communicating vessels framework to illustrate the role of charitable foundations in the CSR value cocreation process. Through four tentative CSR value cocreation levels of relationship (bolt-on, cooperative, controlled, and strategic) the study suggests several internal strategies that can enhance the level of collaboration between founders and foundations. These include information sharing through customer relationship management (CRM) systems and social media platforms; staff sharing or flexible movement across the organizations; quality assurance agreements; flexible team cooperation; partnership protocols with social, media, cultural, and commercial stakeholders; and cotraining of personnel.