Toward an enduring football economy: a business model taxonomy for Europe's professional football clubs
Research question: We identify the key components of the business models (BMs) of professional European football clubs, introducing a structured business model approach to sport management and presenting a BM taxonomy. Research methods: To derive a picture of European football clubs’ BMs, we develop a BM taxonomy in three iterations. In the first step, we conduct a structured literature review. Second, we analyse case studies and subsequently examine 98 real-world objects. We utilise the 98 clubs as real-world objects of Europe's top five leagues during the 2018/19 season, the last complete season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Results and findings: Our taxonomy, consisting of 63 characteristics allocated to 13 dimensions, shows and structures the components of European football clubs’ value creation mechanisms. Our evaluation shows that the clubs follow different BMs, proving our taxonomy's applicability. Implications: We contribute to theory by identifying and illustrating the existence of different BMs in European professional football. Further, our taxonomy assists club managers to analyse their BMs, enabling them to improve their managerial performance for sustainable success and to avoid mismanagement.