Shared Field of Play, Being Part of a Team, Being Part of an Organization: Effects on Building a Personal Brand in Team Sports

University essay from Högskolan i Halmstad/Centrum för innovations-, entreprenörskaps- och lärandeforskning (CIEL); Högskolan i Halmstad/Centrum för innovations-, entreprenörskaps- och lärandeforskning (CIEL)

Abstract: The purpose of this thesis was to identify what effects shared field of play, being part of a team and being part of an organization has on building brand equity for athletes in team sports. Even though personal branding of athletes has received academic coverage over the past years, the role of the shared field of play, being part of a team and being part of an organization have been overlooked. This research gap was addressed through four in-depth semi-structured interviews with professional soccer players from Sweden and Switzerland. Those interviews were analyzed using a theoretical framework which consists of the additional characteristics of team sports and its effect on personal branding. Findings of this thesis show that athletes lose their ‘uniqueness’ when they share the field with otherathletes as they are also wearing the same uniform, this leaves only a few opportunities to differentiate themselves from teammates by using product related and non-product related attributes. That the athletes with playing positions that can make a decisive difference on the outcome of the game receive extra attention. That to cooperate and exhibit a strong relationship between athletes towards the audience gives favorable brand associations and an increased following, thusstrengthening one’s brand equity. That athletes should try to benefit from the popularity of another athlete’s personal brand as long it is there, but that one muststay authentic in the process. That being employed and getting a stable and continuous salary gives athletes comfort and a feeling of safety which might have a negative effect on their ambition of building their personal brand. And lastly, to usethe club’s brand to build one’s own personal brand by paying homage to the club by engaging with supporters through gestures when celebrating victories and individual achievements.

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