Title: Opportunity or obstacle? A preliminary study of professional sport organisations in the age of social media

Authors: Michelle O'Shea; Abel Duarte Alonso

Addresses: School of Management, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 2571, Australia. ' School of Management, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 2571, Australia

Abstract: An extensive body of academic literature has acknowledged the importance that relationship marketing, community alliances and mass communications play in the marketing and branding of professional sport organisations. However, little has been directed at recent media developments and the degree to which they affect professional sport organisations. The present case study examines the ways in which three professional clubs from two different sporting codes are leveraging traditional marketing approaches as well as adapting to emergent technologies and an increasingly media-driven consumer-base. Responses clearly demonstrate the blending of traditional marketing strategies and technology, including social media, in an effort to convert and build fruitful long-term club-supporter relationships. Furthermore, the complexities faced by the marketers of professional sport organisations become exacerbated by the very rapid changes taking place among new generations of professional sport consumers.

Keywords: professional sport organisations; marketers; fans; social media; opportunities; challenges; relationship marketing; community alliances; mass communications; branding; brands; professional clubs; sporting codes; media-driven bases; consumer bases; long-term relationships; club-supporter relationships; sport consumers; internet; world wide web; blogs; blogging; social networking; networks; National Rugby League; Hyundai A-League; Australia; football; soccer; sport management; sport marketing; emerging technologies.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2011.044790

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2011 Vol.10 No.3/4, pp.196 - 212

Received: 19 Feb 2011
Accepted: 22 Jun 2011

Published online: 09 Jan 2012 *

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