In 2001, Gladden and colleagues predicted that 2000 to 2010 would be the decade in which team managers started to focus on strategic brand management (Gladden, Irwin, & Sutton, 2001). A few years later, brand development and management are even considered key aspects for the evolution of the sports market (Bouchet, Hillairet, & Bodet, 2013). However, there is still more to come: Increasing commercialization, digitalization, professionalization and strategic management in sport lead to novel conditions and new routes within brand research in sport management (e.g., Bauer, Sauer, & Schmitt, 2005; Couvelaere & Richelieu, 2005; Gladden & Funk, 2002; Grant, Heere, & Dickson, 2011; Kunkel, Doyle, & Funk, 2014; Watkins & Lewis, 2014).
Recent sport management research analyses the effects of brand strategies on customers’ attitudes and behaviours, e.g. the effects of team brand associations and personalities on team identification and loyalty (Giroux, Pons, & Maltese, 2017; Kunkel, Funk, & Lock, 2017; Stadler Blank, Königstorfer, & Baumgartner, 2017). Further research investigates fit between team and sponsor brands (Angell, Gorton, Bottomley, & White, 2016; Woisetschläger, Backhaus, & Cornwell, 2017) or the influence of social responsibility activities on sponsor brands (Flöter, Benkenstein, & Uhrich, 2016). Another research area focuses on sport brand communities’ relevance for team loyalty (Katz, Ward, & Heere, 2017; Popp, Wilson, Horbel, & Woratschek, 2016; Popp & Woratschek, 2016). Moreover, sport management research examines strategic perspectives of personal or athlete brands (Sato, Ko, Park, & Tao, 2015; Walsh & Williams, 2017). Research about sport brand communities and athlete brands are often linked with social media research (Geurin & Burch, 2016), which also considers effects of social media interaction on sport brand associations (Parganas, Anagnostopoulos, & Chadwick, 2017) or customer engagement strategies through user-generated content and branding (Geurin & Burch, 2017).
Aim and focus of the special issue
Sport brand management is a global and up-to-date research topic. However, little research focuses on future aspects of brand research in sport management. Meanwhile, sport managers face unprecedented challenges between brand heritage and brand innovation. For example, fans do not agree any more with their clubs’ or associations’ focus on brand development. A group of Manchester United fans stopped following their club because they refused to accept the acquisition of an external investor. They formed their own club FC United of Manchester starting from the 10th English football league and currently, after several promotions, playing in its own stadium at a semi-professional level (Conn, 2015).
This example of a fan-generated new brand in combination with recent trends (e.g., globalization, commercialization and digitalization) shows that it is time for exploring new routes within brand research in sport management. Therefore, submissions that discuss “new routes within brand research in sport management: facing challenges between heritage and innovation” and focus on any of the following topics are particularly welcome, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Psychological brand ownership
- Sport brand co-creation
- Brand experience
- Strategic brand management
- Brand alliances / sponsorships
- Athlete brand management
Contributors may come from any human, social and management science discipline and embrace any methodology.
How to submit your paper
Papers should be submitted in electronic format through ScholarOne Manuscripts, indicating you want the manuscript to be considered for Special Issue 20.1 [manuscripts in review process]. Please refer to ESMQ’s Instructions for Authors prior to submitting your manuscript.
Proposed and indicative timeline
- Early 2018: Invitation to participate in the ESMQ Special Issue Workshop at the 26th EASM Conference (Malmö, Sweden, 5-8 September 2018). This is an optional activity.
- November 30, 2018: Submission deadline of full papers for consideration for the 2020 ESMQ Special Issue.
- July 15, 2019: Materials sent to publisher. From this date onwards, the materials will be available for readers on iFirst
- January 2020: Publication of European Sport Management Quarterly, 20(1)