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Branding in the lower level sport club setting: The case of Swedish division 1 ice hockey teams
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


Keller (2009) states that brand equity and the crucial intangiblevalue a brand brings to organizations is perhaps one of the most important marketing topics discussed in recent years. As the competitive market and branding environment for companies are fierce, the sport industry has gradually become more competitive and professional in many aspects of their operations as well. Researchers have gone to the extent of claiming that a brand is the most important asset of a sports team and that the brand provides direction and meaning for sports associations as well as for their followers. Still, market studies have indicated that sport associations often lack appropriate branding strategies and particularly for teams below the professional level, research have been limited in these areas.


The purpose of this thesis is to examine what strategies and actions lower level Swedish ice hockey teams use in order to create and strengthen their brand.


A hermeneutic view and inductive approach have been applied for this thesis. The purpose and research questions of this thesis have been answered with the help of seven qualitative, semistructured in-depth interviews with lower level sport club managers.

Frame of reference

Theory is based on two approaches to how teams can build and leverage their brand. While a model by Richelieu (2003) illustrates a strategic construction of the sports brand, the Spectatorbased brand equity model by Ross (2006) is more concerned with how controllable and uncontrollable factors contributes to the two main components of spectator based brand equity, namely brand awareness and brand associations.


The conclusion withholds the answer to the four research questions and purpose designed for this thesis. The findings indicate that teams are starting to realize the importance of a strong brand, particular to meet increased customer expectations for the game experience are considered important to create positive brand associations. An important finding have been the lack of communication and interaction teams seem to have with their customers in order to establish a clear brand identity and position in the market. The findings also indicate some characteristics particular to the lower level setting e.g. the dependence on volunteer workers and how the lack of long-term financial responsibility have impacted the management and development of a strong brand.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 70 p.
Keyword [en]
Brands, brand equity, branding in sports, brand management
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-18704OAI: diva2:537565
Subject / course
IHH, Business Administration
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-08-24 Created: 2012-06-26 Last updated: 2012-08-24Bibliographically approved

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