Sport club’s patronage with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Sport sponsorship or patronage?

Sport club’s patronage with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)


Increasingly, society expects businesses to have an obligation to the society in which they are located, to the people they employ, and their customers, beyond their traditional bottom-line and narrow shareholder concerns (Sen  & Bhattacharya, 2001)

Social responsibility of the business concentrates on creating social and environmental value as a supplement of  economic development. It is, therefore, a derivative of three dimensions: human, environmental and economic.

The UN Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labor standards, the environment and anti-corruption


Sport business and CSR

After commercial success through worldwide broadcasting rights and sponsorship, sport industry introduced business management and sport marketing to sport clubs.

After commercial growth of sport business, sport clubs have vastly influenced beyond fans to community. Therefore sports clubs also have to do understandable action and participation to community and world a kind of philanthropy

Differently from sport marketing or case marketing through sponsorship, sport patronage needs to more emotional and sympathetic marketing approach, moreover collaboration with people and community are necessary to be successive.

Sponsorship is an associative marketing tool that creates mutual brand and business value for both the sponsor and the sponsored activity.  Sponsorship refer to provision of assistance either or in kind to as activity by a commercial organization for the purpose of achieving commercial objectives (Meenaghan 1983).

Patronage is the support, encouragement, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestow to another.  Provider of patronage (patrons) and receivers (clients) form a network through which access to various resources is

Business patronage refers to the monetary contribution or in kind, by way of the business organization, to a non-profit institution, that contributes to carrying their mission out in activities of general interest and with the purpose of reverting part of the profits its obtains back to society.

Therefore, the reason that patronage responds to the company’s vocation to revert the profits back to society is unattached – since it’s society that guarantees and makes its existence possible – and has a high altruistic.


Big 4 football clubs patronage


FC Barcelona and UNICEF case showed how to succeed through sport patronage action in sport marketing history.

UNICEF definitely is the best sponsor for FC Barcelona. UNICEF has over 90 percent recognition in most countries in the world. Moreover the brand identity & goodwill image create trust, love, compassion, and dignity to people. Any other organization or sport cub cannot produce these kind of best brand image through their sponsorship.

Before UNICEF brand, FC Barcelona was just a Catalonia football club but now FC Barcelona still keeps the world favourite football club with UNICEF brand as “more than a club”.

Nowadays, big sport clubs also willingly participate lots of patronage activities through club’s foundation.

  1.  The FC Barcelona Foundation is the entity through which FC Barcelona conveys its corporate social responsibility. From 2006 the Club has been adhered to the United Nations ‘Millennium Development Goals” and yields 0.7% of ordinary income from FC Barcelona to the Foundation for its projects. Since 2010, the players and coaching staff from the professional sections of the Club have also donated 0.5% of their wages to the Foundation.


  1. The Real Madrid Foundation is the instrument through which the Real Madrid becomes effective presence in society and develops its purpose of human and cultural. The Foundation carries out its programs and activities on four major areas: Sports Activities, Formative and Cultural Activities, Socio-Relief Activities, International cooperation, Institutional Activities


  1. Manchester United Foundation works in some of the most disadvantaged areas across Greater Manchester and uses the passion for Manchester United to educate, motivate and inspire young people.  Charities: The Foundation manages the Club’s charity partners, Francis House Children’s Hospice, The Christie and UNICEF, and the distribution of  signed merchandise for charitable purposes.


  1. Bayern Munich Social Engagements: Apart from being the most successful German football club, BM is socially engaged in a number of activities that help to support the community and people in difficult situations. It all started around 2004, when a terrible tsunami hit Sri Lanka and several thousand people lost their lives. In 2008, the organization donated 100.000 Euro to the German Children Cancer Foundation in the course of a fundraising event organized by Classic Radio.




Nowadays, the concept of “corporate social responsibility” is emerging as one of the keywords defining today’s business environment, as the emphasis on the social roles and functions of companies is increasing.

Like any successful management strategy, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) process of sport clubs needs both high level management vision and support, and buy-in at all levels of the company.

Furthermore, customers are sensitive not only to sport clubs responsibilities toward them, but also to its legal/ethical and philanthropic responsibilities. When they perceive an organization as “bad citizens” regarding such dimensions, they decrease their affective,  normative and continuance bonds toward them.

To foster an affectively and normatively customer’s patronage, sport clubs must care about how their customer’s perceive their corporate social responsibility.

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