Library Dissertation Showcase

An exploration of innovation and value creation for sports fans – football fans’ experience and engagement at half-time

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2023

The purpose of this project is to explore the extent to which innovation can create value for sports fans. Examining existing literature revealed that in recent times there has been an increase in research surrounding this area. Despite this, research investigating the capacity for innovations to create value for fans of sports in the UK, such as football is relatively scarce. Comparably, there is also a shortage of research which commits to exploring value creation during the half-time period. To address such gaps the project elects to take a case study approach, focusing on the potential for innovations to create value for Premier League fans during the half-time interval specifically. The project utilised semi-structured interviews as the primary data collection method. Interviews were conducted with fans of a range of Premier League clubs, who regularly attend games. As key stakeholders it is important to consider the views and preferences of fans prior to implementing changes such as the introduction of potential innovations to ensure that value can be targeted, and that possible resistance is anticipated. All interviews were therefore subject to thematic analysis to highlight key themes and to establish the perspectives held by fans regarding innovation. Findings indicated that the introduction of potential innovations, such as a stadium app could create value for fans, particularly during half-time as it was determined that Premier League clubs make limited attempts to engage with or to entertain fans during this period. It was found that fans valued innovations which are able to facilitate greater involvement and provide solutions to existing issues in particular. Furthermore, fans disclosed previous experiences attending other sports including The Hundred cricket league, NBA and F1, in which innovations were successfully implemented to enhance their experience. Fans indicated that they would be receptive to similar innovations being adopted in the Premier League, if appropriately adapted. However, a significant finding was that the introduction of innovations would have no effect on fans likely attendance, despite many sharing the view that it would add value to their overall experience. Findings provide professional value, illustrating the potential for innovations to create value for fans, whilst also establishing the suitability for such innovations to be introduced in the Premier League by considering the needs of fans. It can be recommended that future research adopts a longitudinal approach and employs a larger sample to further examine theories established in this project.

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