Defining Football: Brand Confusion or a Matter of Semantics? An Exploratory Study

Abel Duarte Alonso, Michelle O’Shea

Year: 2012 Volume: 10 Issue: c

Pages: 40-63

Abstract: The development of professional sport leagues, including football, also referred to as ‘soccer’ in some environments and in the media, is an occurring phenomenon in different nations, where interest and consumption of sport appear to be growing. Football’s establishment in the form of a professional league may however pose a dilemma to professional club marketers in the form of misunderstandings or confusion among consumers, particularly where there are more professional sports that have been traditionally known as “football”. This study investigates both the level of association with and consumption of professional football among residents in a large Australian city. An online questionnaire gathered both quantitative and qualitative data from 695 respondents. The findings illustrate the potential for ‘brand confusion’ when new leagues and teams enter the domestic and international sport marketplace. For instance, almost 30% of respondents associated football with at least one more sport, with no one sport positioning its form of football as exclusive and different from the others. The overall findings underline the need for sport marketers to increase their educational efforts to differentiate their product, their brand, and ultimately their form of football among professional sport consumers.