Identification, Priorization and Management of Professional Football Clubs’ Stakeholders

  •  Nicolas Cicut    
  •  Sandra Montchaud    
  •  Vincent Millereux    
  •  Pierre Dantin    


The aim of this paper is to analyze how professional football clubs manage relationships with their most important stakeholders and their multiple expectations in an efficient framework. Our analysis is based on a case study about ‘Olympique de Marseille’ (OM) – a recognized French club in Ligue 1 – from a participant observation. The period covers by the study mainly runs from 2004 to 2015. We adopt a two-step approach consisting first in identifying and prioritizing club stakeholders and then in analyzing the management set up for those who matter most. Stakeholders play an important part in the way club is managed, especially those defined as definitive given their power, legitimacy and urgency attributes. Relationships with the latter can take different forms from involvement to control. Moreover they do not always exist through pre-defined procedures insofar as a significant part of them remains informal. This study enriches the knowledge of the environment of professional football clubs by taking their stakeholders into account. Recommendations are made to improve their stakeholder management practices by considering the specific nature of each relationship, the importance of dialogue in the relationship, the articulation of the formal and informal dimensions of the relationship, the regularity of the relationship and the flexibility of the relationship.

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