Challenges That Make/Break the Athlete’s Quest to Become an Entrepreneur: A Qualitative Study About Fans’ Perceptions

Open access


Athletes are a new type of celebrity in the world. Following other celebrities, there are several examples of athletes who have used their persona of fame to go a step further with their so-called personal brands and actually launch products carrying their names. As athletes are considered brands in themselves, these sorts of activities (i.e., introducing a product brand) are considered as an extension of the athlete’s brand. Given the nature of the research, this study employed a qualitative design. A purposeful convenience sampling technique was employed to select study participants according to a set of predetermined criteria. The final sample comprised nine fans. The fans identified five major factors that could be important in the context of an athlete’s decision to start his/her own brand. The five identified factors that could decide the fate of an athlete’s brand extensions were the athlete’s origin, extension fit, gender, performance, and impression. According to fans, these factors play an important role in the athlete’s venture as an entrepreneur. The study suggests that although fans understand that athletes are brands in themselves, Pakistani fans are not fond of the idea of athletes becoming entrepreneurs due to the fans’ emotional attachment to the athletes. As this is the first study expressing fans’ perspectives in the context of athlete brand extension, this study is an addition to the academic literature and theories of athlete branding and athletes as entrepreneurs.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Agyemang K.J.A. & Williams A.S. (2013). Creating Revenue via Organisational “Brandpression” Management (OBpM): A Marriage of Brand Management and Impression Management in Professional Sport. International Journal of Revenue Management 7(2) 171-81.

  • Albrecht C-M. Backhaus C. Gurzki H. & Woisetschläger D. (2013). Drivers of Brand Extension Success: WhatReally Matters for Luxury Brands. Psychology & Marketing 30(8) 647-659.

  • van Amsterdam N. Knoppers A. Claringbould I. & Jongmans M. (2012). A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words. Constructing (Non-) Athletic Bodies. Journal of Youth Studies 15(3) 293-309.

  • Apostolopoulou A. (2002). Brand Extensions by U.S. Professional Sport Teams: Motivations and Keys to Success. Sports Marketing Quarterly 11(4) 205-14.

  • Arai A. Ko Y. & Kaplanidou K. (2013). Athlete Brand Image: Scale Development and Model Test. European Sport Management Quarterly 13(4) 383-403.

  • Archetti E.P. (2001). The Spectacle of a Heroic Life: The Case of Diego Maradona. In D.L. Andrews & S.J. Jackson (Eds.) Sport Stars: The Cultural Politics of Sporting Celebrity (pp. 151-63). New York NY: Routledge.

  • Berg B.L. & Lune H. (2011). Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences (8th ed.). Boston MA: Allyn and Bacon.

  • Corbin J. & Strauss A. (2008). Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory (3rd ed.). London UK: Sage.

  • Cortsen K. (2013). Annika Sörenstam - A Hybrid Personal Sports Brand. Sport Business and Management: An International Journal 3(1) 37-62.

  • Crawford G. (2004). Consuming Sport: Fans Sport and Culture. New York NY: Routledge.

  • Fletcher T. (2011). “Who Do ‘They’ Cheer For?”: Cricket Diaspora Hybridity and Divided Loyalties Amongst British Asians. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 47(5) 612-31.

  • Hasaan A. (2016). Establishing Athlete Brand in Cricket: Fan’s Perception about Foreign Cricketers in Pakistan Super League (PSL). Pamukkale Journal of Sport Sciences 7(3) 23-39.

  • Hasaan A. Kerem K. Biscaia R. & Agyemang K.J.A. (2016). Athlete Brand Construction: A Perspective Based On Fans’ Perceptions. Motriz: Revista de Educação Física 22(3) 144-59.

  • Hunter E. (2009). Celebrity Entrepreneurship and Celebrity Endorsement: Similarities Differences and the Effect of Deeper Engagement. Unpublished doctoral dissertation Jönköping International Business School Jönköping Sweden.

  • Kumar N. (2003). Kill a Brand Keep a Customer. Harvard Business Review 81(12) 86-95.

  • Kunkel T. Hill B. & Funk D.C. (2013). Brand Architecture Drivers of Consumer Involvement and Brand Loyalty With Professional Sport Leagues and Teams. Journal of Sport Management 27(3) 177-92.

  • Kvale S. (1996). InterViews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.

  • Lieb K. (2013). Gender Branding and the Modern Music Industry: The Social Construction of Female Popular Music Stars. New York NY: Routledge.

  • Liu M.T. & Brock J.L. (2011). Selecting a Female Athlete Endorser in China: The Effect of Attractiveness Match-Up and Consumer Gender Difference. European Journal of Marketing 45(7/8) 1214-35.

  • Malcolm D. (2001). “It’s Not Cricket”: Colonial Legacies and Contemporary Inequalities. The Journal of Historical Sociology 14(3) 253-75.

  • Marshall C. & Rossman G.B. (1995). Designing Qualitative Research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.

  • Mujkic D. Staškevičiūtė-Butienė I. & Valantinė I. (2016). Elite Athletes’ Motivation to Create Personal Brand. In The 9th Conference of the Baltic Sport Science Society April 27-29 2016 (p. 67-68). Kaunas Lithuania.

  • Papp-Váry Á. (2011). The Use of Sports Celebrities in Advertising: Best and Worst Practices. In Proceedings - 9th International Conference on Mangement Enterprise and Benchmarking November 17-18 2011 (pp. 259-270). Budapest Hungary.

  • Patton M.Q. (2002). Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods. Newbury Park CA: Sage.

  • Pope S. (2010). “Like Pulling Down Durham Cathedral and Building a Brothel”: Women as “New Consumer” Fans? International Review for the Sociology of Sport 46(4) 471-87.

  • Ratten V. (2015). Athletes as Entrepreneurs: The Role of Social Capital and Leadership Ability. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business 25(August) 442-55.

  • Rojek C. (2001). Celebrity. London UK: Reaktion Books.

  • Shakib S. & Veliz P. (2012). Race Sport and Social Support: A Comparison Between African American and White Youths’ Perceptions of Social Support for Sport Participation. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 48(3) 295-317.

  • Stallen M. Smidts A. Rijpkema M. Smit G. Klucharev V. & Fernández G. (2010). Celebrities and Shoes on the Female Brain: The Neural Correlates of Product Evaluation in the Context of Fame. Journal of Economic Psychology 31(5) 802-811.

  • Stegemann N. (2006). Unique Brand Extension: Challenges for Luxury Brands. Journal of Business and Economics Research 4(10) 57-68.

  • White W.D. & Absher K. (2013). Red Devils Royals and the River Thames. Sport Business and Management: An International Journal 3(4) 312-26.

  • Williams A.S. Kim D. Agyemang K. & Martin T.G. (2015). All Brands Are Not Created Equal: Understanding the Role of Athletes in Sport-Brand Architecture. Journal of Multidisciplinary Research 7(3) 75-86.

  • Yu C.C. (2005). Athlete Endorsement in the International Sports Industry: A Case Study of David Beckham. International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship 6(3) 189-200.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.3

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.201
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.333

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 421 350 26
PDF Downloads 357 285 29