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International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

The International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship publishes peer reviewed research, case studies, comment and interviews from academics and industry experts. Published quarterly, it is the only sports journal to have met the rigorous standards required for a listing by both PsycINFO and SSCI.
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Latest issue   Volume 15   Number 2   January 2014

Measuring fair play and planning long term

It is our great pleasure to include an interview with Frédéric Longuépée, deputy managing director of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), in this issue. The interview is of great interest to the sports marketing community because of the changes that are happening at the club.

Following its takeover by Qatar Sports Investment, PSG has seen a major injection of cash into its playing budget and has attracted some of the world’s top footballers.

This type of rapid investment creates many challenges, not least a need to demonstrate to UEFA that the club is operating within the federation’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, which basically state that a club must operate within a budget generated by its activities. No longer can clubs simply be bankrolled by billionaires and record sustained and heavy losses.

For PSG in particular, this poses a problem, because the club operates in the French Ligue 1, which has traditionally lagged behind equivalent leagues in England, Germany, Italy and Spain in terms of TV revenues, gate receipts and commercial income.

Mr Longuépée explains the approach taken by PSG to grow its commercial income and also to deliver the objectives of its major backers in Qatar. In a nutshell, the club is aiming to become one of the world’s leading sporting brands within a decade and the word ‘brand’, rather than ‘club’, is key.

At the outset was a redesign of the club crest to emphasise the city of Paris more clearly. There is a feeling within the club that the city is a massive asset in terms of developing its brand and to position itself to reflect and benefit from the attributes of its home city. In terms of fan engagement, there is a much greater emphasis on customer experience, whether at the stadium, online or indeed in the club shop. The strategy is first and foremost about building the brand; revenues, it is argued, will follow on the back of this.

PSG has deliberately opted not to follow the path of, for example, Manchester United and sell multiple national deals around the world. Instead its aim is to associate itself with a limited number of major global brands which can each activate their rights internationally. The strategy is not without risk. The FFP rules kick in over the next two years and although PSG has already seen a big increase in revenue, as a club it is still not self-financing. This does throw up a very interesting question for the governing body,UEFA. The PSG plan is long-term, but it requires major investment now. Will the club be penalised for taking this approach instead of looking for what some might describe as ‘quicker, easier money’?

UEFA will also want to keep a close eye on the value of sponsorships that come from Qatar. Overpayment, to circumvent FFP rules, could lead to UEFA sanctions. PSG is clearly working hard to develop its global image and justify the multi-million dollar deals. Its argument is that the stronger its brand, the greater its value to sponsors, and the club is producing research to back up its claims to deliver return on investment to the Qatar Tourism Authority in particular.

It’s fair to say that the football and sponsorship industries have to date been very sceptical of the deal, with many saying that it is simply a backdoor channel for Qatari investment. In this interview, Mr Longuépée makes a robust defence of PSG’s case by emphasising the investment and strategy to develop the club’s brand, as opposed to its playing squad.

How UEFA will react remains to be seen, but what is clear is that PSG has developed a sophisticated brand and commercial strategy, based on sound marketing principles and market research. Other sports clubs and franchises would be well advised to read the interview and consider whether they could learn from this approach. I look forward to talking to Mr Longuépée in a few years time to see how PSG has fared.

Frédéric Longuépée, Deputy Managing Director, Paris Saint-Germain
Paper 1
Owner or endorser? Investigating the effectiveness of celebrity owners of sports teams as endorsers
Subhadip Roy, Institute of Management, Udaipur,India
Anita Pansari, Research scholar, IBS Hyderabad, India
Endorsement of a brand or sports team by a sports celebrity has been thoroughly researched within the context of sports marketing. However, the recent phenomenon of non-sports celebrities owning sports teams has received little research attention. This study uses a survey of Indian respondents in the context of a major sport (cricket) in India to explore the impact of a non-sports celebrity owning and endorsing a sports team on consumer attitudes towards the team and their sponsors. Findings indicate that the level of credibility assigned to the celebrity significantly affects consumer attitudes towards the team and its sponsors. The results suggest that managers of sports teams and their sponsors should consider a celebrity owner as an endorser, as long as that celebrity has high credibility.
Paper 2
Effectiveness of Olympic sponsorship by foreign and domestic companies: the influential role of consumer ethnocentrism
Yue Meng-Lewis, Bournemouth University, UK
Des Thwaites, Leeds University Business School, UK
Kishore Gopalakrishna Pillai, Aston Business School, UK
This study investigates Chinese consumers’ responses to foreign and domestic sponsors engaged in the Beijing Olympic Games. It identifies direct causal relationships between consumer ethnocentrism, attitudes towards the sponsor and product judgement. Findings reveal that event involvement mediates the positive relationship between consumer ethnocentrism and attitudes towards the domestic sponsor. Attitudes towards foreign sponsors are found to be a significant mediator in the relationship between consumer ethnocentrism and judgements of the sponsors’ products. Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed
Paper 3
The impact of acculturation and ethnic identity on American football identification and consumption among Asians in the United States
Jae-Pil Ha, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, UK
Mary A. Hums, University of Louisville, USA
Chris T. Greenwell, University of Louisville, USA
This study examines the effect of four acculturation strategies (integration, assimilation, separation and marginalisation) on identification with and consumption of American football for the Asian population in the United States. Using Berry’s (1990, 1997) bi- dimensional model of acculturation as a theoretical framework, significant differences (based on the four acculturation strategies) between football identification and consumption were found. In addition, this study examines the relationships between acculturation, ethnic identity, identification with and consumption of the sport among the Asian population. The results indicate that acculturation plays a significant role in explaining participants’ identification with and consumption of the sport, whereas ethnic identity does not.
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