Segmenting Consumers of Professional Soccer: Identifying the ‘Enthusiast’

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JournalJournal of Services Research
DateAccepted/In press - 18 Dec 2018
DatePublished (current) - 12 Feb 2019
Issue number2
Volume18
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Extant literature of association football (‘soccer’) consumers has tended to focus on supporters of top-tier teams, or on psychological or experiential factors. Contrastingly, this study was concerned with identifying customer segments based on consumer value and benefits-sought, but particular to supporters of lower-league clubs. Using survey data from the three tiers of English professional football below the English Premier League (the Championship, League 1, and League 2), we refine and update Tapp and Clowes (2002) framework of Premier League fans, exploring the behaviour of supporters of lower-tier professional clubs. From our findings, we provide a segmentation framework that can be applied by marketers as part of the business and marketing planning process. We provide a detailed picture of the views and consumption habit of lower-league soccer supporters, and identify an additional segment, the ‘Enthusiast’. We believe that this is important because much of the existing research has focused on the English Premier League (EPL) which we argue represents an atypical elite in comparison to the majority of other professional tiers of football in the UK or the rest of the European area. By focusing on lower-league football we provide a more universal study.

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