Business, management and marketing

We investigate how the business, management and marketing of global, national and local sport creates value and impact for diverse sports stakeholders.

This includes how and why individuals engage with sport as participants, volunteers, employees and consumers, the constraints on this engagement and the benefits it entails.

Recognising that the sport business ecosystem is organised, delivered and consumed across the commercial, third and public sectors, our expertise and analysis of sport focuses on strategy development, implementation and evaluation both from a critical academic perspective but also to provide practical insight for a wide range of funders, stakeholders and organisations.

Our academic staff are happy to discuss research collaboration relating to sponsoring and sponsored brands, as well as research studentships and self-funded PhDs. To find out more about academics working in this research area, please click on the 'People' tab below.


Our research focus embraces mass participation, elite sport and events domains of the sports economy. Our work ranges from understanding the decisions to engage with sport as participants, volunteers, employees or consumers, as well as the impact of doing so.

We evaluate the social and economic returns on sport investment, identifying the impacts on destination brand image from hosting events, the drivers and impacts of social media in sport, as well as the service quality associated with sporting offers.

We analyse and evaluate marketing strategy connected with sponsorship and branding, spectator and participant segmentation and behaviour. We also evaluate the legal frameworks associated with sporting provision and activity, for example those connected with sporting agents and the welfare of young athletes.

Our current research specialisms include:

  • Sport agents
  • Diversity in sports coaching
  • Media, marketing and sponsorship
  • Social and economic returns on engagement with sport.

Grant funding

  • Downward P, Wicker P. (2021). Football participation and subjective wellbeing valuation final report (2021) (UEFA and Substance, €60,000)

Real-world impact

Here are some examples of where our research has had an impact:


If you would like to collaborate with our researchers, engage in consultancy or discuss potential PhD projects, please contact them using the information on their staff profile.

Our research staff and their areas of research interest are listed below:

  • Dr Peter Dickenson – Sport marketing with a particular focus on sponsorship strategy and evaluation.
  • Prof Paul Downward – Social, economic, health and well-being effects of sport and physical activity.
  • Martin Foster – Sport business and partnerships.
  • Dr Borja Garcia – European Union sport policy and the governance of global sport.
  • Professor Richard Giulianotti – Sport and globalisation, social inclusion (particularly the ‘sport for development and peace’ sector), youth, sport mega-events, crime and deviance, sport and policing/security, migration, sport policy, and social theory.
  • Dr Jamie Kenyon – Strategic marketing and management of sport events and organisations (focusing on: branding and relationship management in sport; managing community and volunteer sport organisations (CVSOs); and, the impacts and legacies of events).
  • Dr Elisavet Manoli – Marketing communications management in sport and corruption in sport.
  • Dr Carolynne Mason – Impact of participation in sport and physical activity on social outcomes in marginalised communities.
  • Dr Joe Piggin – Sport and physical activity policy.
  • Dr Do Young Pyun – Understanding consumers’ cognitive, affective and behavioural structures in various fields in sport marketing.
  • Dr Susannah Monserrat-Revillo – Sports management, and more specifically in the areas of service quality, leisure activities, local government and customer´s segmentation.
  • Dr Alex Thurston – Sport policy implementation, sport governance, procurement frameworks and technology in sport. Teaching and disseminating sport management knowledge and theory.
  • Dr Serhat Yilmaz – Sports agents and the protection of young athletes in sport.

Current PhD projects

Our doctoral researchers (PhDs):

  • Laura Borrie – Developing graduate attributes and employability through sport-based volunteering.
  • Bingxu (Bruce) Cheng – Brand equity of English Premier League in Chinese market.
  • Wei Gao – Understanding athlete brand image management.
  • Helen Hathaway – Better evidencing the impact of Sport for Development: An ethnographic case study of the YES project.
  • Boyang (Max) He – The management and development of cricket in China.
  • Seung Hyun Lim – The impact of sport participation on its consumption: The case of football.
  • Chengxiang (Viola) Lyu – Evaluation of the impacts and legacy of the past Olympic Games and Paralympic Games; volunteer management in the sports event; femvertising.
  • Sinead O'Keeffe – Sponsorship in Formula 1 motor racing: The role of image congruency and placement in sponsorship effectiveness.
  • Bickram Ram – Assessing the impact of football agents off-field in branding and marketing athletes.
  • Zhicong Shen – Influential factors in the development of football in China.
  • Hao Sun – The development and management of cricket in China.
  • Xinpu (Peter) Wang – Adaptability of global and receptivity of local: The operation of Sports TNCs in the emerging market.

To find out more about PhD opportunities in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, visit our Postgraduate research webpages.

Experts in Sport podcast: Does sponsorship in sport have an unhealthy relationship with junk food?

Host Martin Foster (Applied Sport Management Lead) is joined by Dr Joe Piggin, Senior Lecturer in Sport Management, to discuss junk food sponsorship in sport and its potential impact on wider society.


Listen here