Title: Coopetition between SMEs: an empirical study of French professional football

Authors: Frank Robert, Pierre Marques, Frederic Le Roy

Addresses: GSCM-Montpellier Business School, France. ' GSCM-Montpellier Business School, France. ' University of Montpellier 1, France; GSCM-Montpellier Business School, France

Abstract: Coopetition is an alternative to the two main paradigms of strategic management: competition and cooperation. We can study the possibilities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to cooperate and compete simultaneously in light of the existing literature on the new forms of rivalry and cooperation. However, this recent paradox must be tested in various sectors and between the SMEs. We will analyse the existence of coopetition within French professional football, characterised by a high number of SMEs. We will use factor analysis and cluster analysis based on the economic and competitive variables of the organisations that participated in the French Leagues 1 and 2 during the 2005–2006 season. First, we reveal the existence of coopetition within the sector. We observe that some clubs mix strategies of cooperation and competition simultaneously and that the clubs| leaders within the professional governing bodies can optimise crucial resources such as broadcasting rights. Then, we will discuss the existence of a relationship between the behaviour of coopetition of some clubs regarding player movements and their economic-on-field competitive behaviour (the link between budget and sports classification), as well as their financial success. Finally, we propose a cluster analysis and identify three types of clubs.

Keywords: coopetition; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; strategy; cooperation; competition; professional football; professional soccer; France; football clubs; resources; broadcasting rights; player movements; competitive behaviour; cluster analysis.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2009.024103

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2009 Vol.8 No.1, pp.23 - 43

Published online: 25 Mar 2009 *

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