Building a brand portfolio: the case of English Football League (EFL) clubs

Adrian Pritchard, David Cook, Andrew Jones, Tom Bason, Paul Salisbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
173 Downloads (Pure)


Research question: Professional sports clubs (PSCs) may diversify by marketing a range of products that extend beyond sport. Using brand architecture as a framework, the research aims to examine: the brand names they adopt, markets they serve and the hierarchical relationship between the leagues and PSCs in the branding of the product ranges of both organizations.

Research methods: Set within the context of the English Football League (EFL), club websites were reviewed to examine brand names that are used when marketing activities unrelated to sport. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the commercial staff of 21 PSCs relating to their branding strategy.

Results and findings: Leagues and PSCs may market a number of brands in addition to their core products of sporting competitions and teams. EFL clubs have developed brands independently of the league, primarily by branding their stadiums as a multi-purpose venue to stage events not related to matches. Within their venues they have also developed a category we term ‘stadium sub-brands’. These include business clubs, comedy clubs and restaurants. Some of these services are co-branded with partner organizations.

Implications: Devising a typology of the brand architecture of EFL clubs illustrates how sports organizations can diversify into markets other than football and add to their product portfolio by making use of their resources, in particular their stadium.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-481
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Sport Management Quarterly
Issue number3
Early online date10 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2022

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in European Sport Management Quarterly 'Building a brand portfolio: the case of English Football League (EFL) clubs', European Sport Management Quarterly, vol. (In-press), pp. (In-press).

It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Branding
  • brand architecture
  • non-match events
  • professional sports clubs (PSCs)
  • sports stadiums

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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