Ownership, Organisation and Strategies in the Sports industry

Submissions open:1st October 2021

Submissions deadline: 28th February 2022


Aims and Scope

Over the last century, the impact of different types of entertainment such as sports, on different participants like businesses, societies and fans have expanded in a significant way. The relevance and influence of sports in every walk of life is gaining more resonance, implication and value (Bennike et al., 2020; Clausen et al., 2018; Gammelsæter, 2021; Storm and Solberg, 2018; Wagner et al., 2017; Walters and Chadwick, 2009; Zimbalist, 2003). In this broadening boundary of the sports industry and sports management, there paves the opportunity for more development, commercialization and professionalization of a number of global/regional team sports in various countries and regions of the globe (Bennike et al., 2020; Clausen et al., 2018; Zimbalist, 2003), not only in advanced economies but in large and small developing economies of the world.

Allied to this is the increasing emphasis on the purpose, responsibilities and effective strategies of different stakeholder groups such as owners and their ownership strategies of sports clubs, sport associations, business firms as sponsors, broadcasting media firms, local communities and their influences in the industry. Certainly, some studies have argued that the link between business and sports and how they interact with each other have become closer in recent times (see Foster et al., 2006; Smith and Stewart, 2010). In this regard, these studies argue that there are similiar objectives for business firms and sports organisations with respect to strategies for revenue generation, market expansion and value creation for their respective stakeholders. But, there are also tensions between different institutional logics as for example the business logic versus the idealism/non-profit logic in the organisation and commercialization of team sports (Gammelsaeter, 2010; Gammelsaeter, 2021; Smith and Stewart, 2010; Stewart and Smith, 1999).

In recent decades, the influence of sports TV channels and digitalization have improved the connectivities between different stakeholders in sports as digital platforms become more hyperconnected (eg. real-time connectivity and communication between club/team owners, players, fans, media, business firms, sponsors etc.). The ever changing technologically interdependent world and the pervasive role of digital platforms like social media and internet streaming channels (eg. Amazon Prime Video, Sky Sports, Youtube channels, Yupp TV,  etc) have contributed to the growing mobility and implementation of multiple strategies related to the ownership and organisation of resources available for different stakeholders in contemporary sport. This has led to the burgeoning production and flow of sports content between individuals and communities, but also substantial revenue generation for businesses and sports around the world. To an extent, the relentless flow of sports content on a daily basis has contributed to the rise of sports viewership, fanbase, ownership interests, live broadcasting, financial value for cable TV channels and digital sports platforms businesses across multiple regions of the world. For example in football, professional clubs like the UK-based Manchester United or the Spainish based Real Madrid have developed into major businesses and global brands (Hill and Vincent, 2006; Walters and Chadwick, 2009; Zimbalist, 2003), where their loyal fanbase, business sponsors and/or ownership can be evidenced at overseas markets such as Brazil, China, India, USA and elsewhere.

Besides the changes occurring in the industry, there is increasing evidence of a mounting political dimension, for example sportswashing (Chadwick, 2018; Ronay, 2019) relating to different countries’ strategic interests in organizing international sports competitions/events (see Grix et al, 2015; Grix and Brannagan, 2016; Kobierecki and Strozek, 2021), ownership of racing teams, clubs such as in Formula 1 racing, football etc. (Krzyzaniak, 2016) to leverage their reputation globally. Perhaps in this interdependent global environment, there is a new uncertainty created by the global pandemic Covid-19 and its impact on resource generation and allocation. Arguably, the pandemic seems to have created aftermaths regarding the sources of revenues, ownership strategies and organisation, which calls for a fertile understanding of the sport industry going forward. In this background, the permeation of 24/7 news cycle in households and the sprouting of new audiences’ and sports fans in general have contributed to more demands on improved professionalism and high-performance/standards (Sotiriadou and De Bosscher, 2018) in the different facets of the sports industry.

The extant literature shows that there are many studies focused on the role of professionals in the sport industry (Foster et al., 2006; Gammelsæter, 2021; Wagner et al., 2017; Walters and Chadwick, 2009; Zimbalist, 2003). But there seems to be less literature evidence on the understanding of different topics of varying significance, strategies and perspectives on the role of TV, digital platforms, businesses, organisation, ownership and revenues in the sport industry in different regions of the world. Hence, the aim of this special issue is to provide a deeper contextual knowledge and understanding of these topics in the sport industry. Besides this, to understand the changing landscape of the sport industry in the contemporary environment, the special issue welcomes articles on theory development, empirical studies, conceptual work, practical insights and so forth based on the indicated themes and perspectives in the sports industry. The suggested possible topics are neither exhaustive nor limited to the following areas:


Possible topics, research questions and/or themes include, but not limited to are:

-Relationships and influences between different stakeholders such as business firms, team sports (eg. Formula 1 teams, Football clubs etc.), communities, fans etc. in regional/global contexts

-How do the ownership strategies of sports teams/clubs in a certain country compare with another country?

-How do countries’ strategic interests influence the ownership strategies of sports teams/clubs?

-Strategic perspectives on the relationships between businesses and motivations of national/state interests (sportswashing) on the organisation and ownership in team sports

-Comparative studies on management and organisation of different team sports' club/ leagues in the sports industry

-How do sports teams, clubs, leagues strategically learn from other league/club exemplars in different countries/regions of the world?

-How does the organisation of team sports (e.g. Football) impact revenue generation and reputation of sport clubs?

-Role of sports TV channels, broadcasting rights, live streaming and digital platforms on the generation and distribution of revenues to sports teams/associations/leagues in different country/regional contexts

-What are the tensions and considerations between institutional logics as (business logic vs voluntary/non-profit logic) in the context of commercialization of teams/clubs in the sports industry?

Submissions to this journal are through the ScholarOne submission system. Please visit the author guidelines for the journal here.


Guest Editors

Krishna Venkitachalam, Professor of Strategy, Department of Management, Estonian Business School, Tallinn - 10114, Estonia, E-mail: [email protected]

Birgitta Schwartz, Professor, Stockholm Business School, Management Section, Stockholm University, SE- 10691, Sweden. E-mail: [email protected]

Sten Söderman, Professor Emeritus, Stockholm Business School, Marketing Section, Stockholm University, SE 10691, Sweden, E-mail: [email protected]



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