Title: Sports fan relationships with soccer teams

Authors: Tiago Marques; Helena Nobre; David Gordon

Addresses: Department of Economics, Management, Industrial Engineering and Tourism (DEGEIT), University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal ' Department of Economics, Management, Industrial Engineering and Tourism (DEGEIT), University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal ' Faculty of Business and Law, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH, UK

Abstract: This paper investigates the relationships sports fans establish with teams. Specifically, it studies the Sporting Clube de Portugal (Sporting CP) case. The purpose of this study is to analyse whether the efforts that Sporting CP managers are investing in marketing strategies and initiatives, grounded on new communication channels and services (for instance, social media presence) impact the bonds that Sporting CP's fans establish with the club. Results indicated, in general, correspondence between club leaders' expectations (gathered through in-depth semi-structured interviews) and fans perceptions (collected through questionnaires). Most of the marketing strategies and initiatives are well received by fans. It seems that Sporting CP brand still has space to grow. The establishment of strategic partnerships, and sport marketing innovative strategies, in line with innovative communication channels, are proposed as recommendations. The study also emphasises the importance of social networks to sports management.

Keywords: sports fan; relationships with teams; sports marketing; team sport industry; sports club; European soccer teams.

DOI: 10.1504/IJDCET.2018.090393

International Journal of Digital Culture and Electronic Tourism, 2018 Vol.2 No.3, pp.213 - 223

Received: 30 May 2017
Accepted: 07 Nov 2017

Published online: 07 Mar 2018 *

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