Authors: Ugur Sonmezoglu*(1)
(1) Ugur Sonmezoglu is a Research Assistant Dr. in the Department of Sport Management at the Pamukkale University, Turkey.
Ugur Sonmezoglu, Ph.D.
Faculty of Sport Sciences, Pamukkale University
Kinikli, Denizli, 20140
The aim of this research was to reveal purposes and effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of fan clubs. Qualitative research methods were used in the research. Interview and document analysis method were used as a data collection tool. 20 activities of Besiktas (BJK) Karadeniz Eregli Association, Fenerbahçe (FB) Biga Associations, FB Bolu Association, Trabzonspor (TS) Vira Fan Group and Galatasaray (GS) Ultraslan fan clubs, making up the sampling group of the research, were examined by document analysis method. Subsequently, interviews were held with the representatives of these fan organizations. According to the research results, it was revealed that the purposes of fan organizations in CSR activities were dissemination of social awareness, social benefit and realization of advocacy mission; and a process was followed up such as receiving requests from the needy for CSR activities, partnership with non-governmental organizations, fundraising, revenue item formation, and usage of social media and communication tools; and professional approach style in CSR activities, encouragement by the club and the size of fan organizations in social media access webs gave an advantage to CSR projects to succeed.
Moreover, it was observed that CSR activities of fan organizations had favorable effects on the soccer clubs such as strengthening of club image, increasing fan loyalty, gaining supporters and financial contribution to the club. Finally, it was observed that CSR activities had favorable effects on the approach of soccer club to fan organizations, differentiation of fan organization from other fan organizations, on forming good relationships with other fan organizations, on gaining respect, trust and image to fan organization, mingling in fan organizations, growth of fan organizations and increase in loyalty to fan organizations.
KEYWORDS: Fan Organizations, Corporate Social Responsibility, Qualitative Research
Soccer is a sports branch which is economic, sportive and attracting attention in terms of popularity, and ensuring participation of people to the sports actively or passively, and where economic investments are most intense (1, 2). These characteristics of soccer reflect on the administrative, economic, social, etc. activities of professional soccer clubs and soccer clubs include different policies in these fields. Breitbarth and Harris (3) indicated that soccer becomes to an industrial position during the recent years and this directs sports administrators to be more conscious in socio-politic issues. One of these socio-politic issues is for certain CSR projects of professional soccer clubs. It was observed when literature was searched that there were studies about CSR activities of soccer clubs supporting this view (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9).
Although professional soccer clubs today have historical significance, their social identities cause them to be seen as the real representatives of society (10). This characteristic facilitates soccer clubs to integrate with society and can increase the effectiveness of CSR activities that were mentioned above. Emotional attachment and passion formed with the soccer team by the supporters is also very important in terms of awareness in society of CSR messages of soccer clubs (11). Furthermore, the number of fans of soccer clubs in national and international level can be evaluated as a distinctive characteristic for creating social good. When viewed from this angle, it can be stated that the effect field of social projects of soccer clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich ensures wider dissemination. This situation is similar in Turkey because soccer clubs which are called 4 great clubs (Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor) which struggle in the professional soccer league consist of 94% of the total supporter number in Turkey. Supporters of these soccer clubs organize as fan groups or fan associations in many regions of Turkey (12). Alkan (13) indicated that the associations of these clubs increase like snowball all over Turkey, and they gain strength in their establishment regions and penetrate to individuals there. Moreover, there are supporter groups which don’t have an institutional structure and operation other than the fan associations. Supporter groups have an organizational structure that is an informal organization in comparison to fan organizations. These two different fan organizations, high number of members, having people of different socio-economic structure, loyalty to the same sports club and CSR projects both represent the soccer club they are loyal to and also reflects the direction of the soccer clubs in society. It can be stated that soccer clubs support such formations and thus they have the opportunity for unity with the society they represent, to be mingled, to respond to the expectations of the society and moving together with their fans. When the literature is searched, and when it is considered that there are no studies revealing a situation or analysis about CSR activities of soccer club supporters, this research focused on CSR activities of fan organizations and evaluated purposes of CSR activities and what kind of effects they have.
This research was a qualitative research. Criterion sampling and easily accessible sampling methods have been made use of as sampling method (14). Accordingly, fan organizations of the four great soccer clubs which have the most number of supporters in Turkey and make up 94% of the total soccer club fans in Turkey were included in the research. The data in the research were obtained by using document analysis and interview method and the news and press bulletins were evaluated which were included in the press about CSR activities of soccer club fan organizations, and access to CSR activities via web sites was determinant in this process for document analysis. There were 20 CSR projects evaluated including 5 projects for BJK Karadeniz Eregli Association, 5 for FB Biga Association, 3 for FB Bolu Association, 4 for GS Ultraslan Group, and 3 for TS Vira Group. In the analyses made on sample projects, CSR activities made by sports clubs are considered separately for each club. Name of CSR project, partners if any, target group and the things that were done were determined, and what type of applications were made in terms of CSR by the clubs were examined. In these examinations, soccer clubs were listed according to letter arrangement. Subsequently, semi structured interview form was generated with the representatives of BJK Karadeniz Eregli Association, FB Biga Association, FB Bolu Association, TS Vira Supporter Group, and GS Ultraslan Denizli Supporters, and interviews were held. An open end and semi-structure question form was generated. In-depth information was gathered with this interview format about the perceptions and experiences of the participants (15). The interviews were recorded by a digital voice recorder with the permission of the participants. The interviews lasted approximately 20 minutes to 94 minutes and the total interview period was 255 minutes. In the analysis of the data, descriptive analysis method was used and the data were summarized, then content analysis method was used. Content analysis is a technique used for characterization and comparison of documents, interview inventory or recordings (16). In this stage of data analysis, the data summarized and interpreted in descriptive analysis were put thorough a deeper procedure and coding process was carried out.
1. Findings about social responsibility projects of soccer club fans
Pilot projects out of CSR activities of fan organizations were included primarily in the research. Here, name of the fan organizations which are engaged in CSR activities, CSR project name, its partners if any, target group and information regarding activities in CSR project are included. This information is given in Table 1 below.
When the information given above is considered, it can be stated that the fan organizations focused on children, disabled persons, patients and students mostly in CSR projects. When cancer patients, earthquake victims and abandoned children are considered, it can be stated that being needy is considered in the activities and needy individuals are reached. Moreover, some CSR projects are carried out by non-governmental organizations or other fan organizations. It is clear that fan organizations continue to carry out CSR projects each year traditionally. Projects such as April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children’s Day activities conducted each year, circumcision feasts, and book and office supply aids can be shown as examples for this. Again, although CSR projects are included in the media and news sites, media attention must be more intense.
2. Findings on the opinions of administrators of soccer club fan organizations
The findings obtained based on the opinions of the fan organizations administrators who participated in the research about CSR activities are as shown in Table 2 below.
Based on the statements of the participants in the research, it is observed that codes are revealed about the purposes of fan organizations in CSR activities, project planning process, advantages, and effects of CSR projects on the organizations and fan organizations.
Many researches reveal that CSR activities come up as a new subject in sports in the world (4, 10, 37, 9, &38). It is observed that these researches focus on sports clubs, sports leagues, and sports federations in general. However, it is remarkable that there are no researches done about IRS activities of sports supporters.
Soccer is a sports branch having the most number of supporter groups in Turkey. 94% of the total supporters throughout Turkey is made of Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Trabzonspor defined as the four large organizations and these make up the sampling of the research (39). Fans of these soccer clubs are organized in almost each region of the country formally and informally (13). During the recent years, these fan organizations faced CSR activities therefore they started to represent soccer clubs that they support in social projects as well. CSR activities of fan organizations were focused in the research in this direction. Primarily, purposes of fan organizations were focused based on the participants’ opinions and in this framework, participant opinions are evaluated below.
From the participant statement “The purpose of carrying out CSR activities under FB association is to fulfill responsibility to the club and to materialize partisanship mission. We are doing things for that emblem by these responsibility activities for 2 years at the association. If Gokhan Gonul runs for 90 minutes, I say I carry this flag in Bolu this way”, (FB Bolu Director)” it can be deduced that fan organizations aimed to carry out partisanship mission for the club by CSR activities; and with the expression “We encourage people in the society to create social awareness by the things we do. Urging people to think about this matter is one of our purposes already (TS Vira Director)” it can be inferred that fan organizations aim to raise social awareness about CSR in society; and the statement “We aim to bring everyone together by CSR activities to cover social solidarity and all sections of the society (BJK Krdz. Eregli Director)” can be stated as findings showing that CSR activities are carried out for social solidarity purpose. Director of Tottenham Hotspur Foundation Grant Cornwell indicated similarly that “sports clubs started to get sports charity more seriously and they should ensure social awareness at least once a week in the society” (40). In the USA, National Hockey League is engaged in initiatives to raise awareness in the society by local and national organizations supporting cancer treatment with “Hockey Fights Cancer” program (5). Babiak and Wolfe (11) indicate that passion and interest of fans/consumers in professional sports is a unique characteristic and this increases awareness of CSR messages. It can be stated that fan organizations support sports clubs in this direction by CSR activities, Therefore, it can be stated that the strong interaction between the club and fans affect CSR projects positively.
It can be stated in the research that sports clubs extend the web of CSR activities to reach society by means of fan organizations because sports clubs that are the subject of the research have formal or informal organizations in Turkey in every city. These fan organizations aim children mostly in addition to the individuals who are not supporter of their own club by CSR projects (blood donation, giving gifts to students, children’s parks, etc.) as shown in Table 1. When the statements of the participants are considered such as “The greatest purpose here is to prove that we are a non-governmental organization that is beneficial to the society. In addition to benefit to the society, to popularize being a Fenerbahce fan is our second purpose. We especially select children at the elementary school age as we carry out projects. Our greatest purpose in this is to popularize being a Fenerbahce fan because when you give a present to a kid at the elementary school age they like it and feel sympathy for Fenerbahce (FB Bolu Director) and “In addition, with these activities, we try to inspire especially kids become a Besiktas fan (BJK Krdz. Eregli Director)” it is observed that fan organizations aim to ensure social benefit and popularizing partisanship by CSR activities. It can be stated that focusing of fan organizations to children mostly in CSR projects aid in formation of fan consciousness in persons of this age. Reiche (9) indicates similarly that clubs focus on children in social projects, and sports clubs include projects supporting children in order to reach potential supporters who will buy tickets and products in the future. In the research, it can be stated similarly that fan organizations have the same purposes instead of sports clubs.
As it is shown in Table 1, it is seen in the research that fan organizations form partnerships with non-governmental organizations such as LOSEV (the foundation for children with leukemia), the Red Crescent. The partnership statement “We are with LÖSEV since its first establishment day. We buy gifts to children with leukemia. We organize dinners together with persons who are not the members of the association and kids with leukemia, we include other associations as sponsors too (BJK Krdz. Eregli Director)” supports this situation. In addition, statements such as “Help is asked both by the city we are in and other cities. Activity reports are provided to us on the 27th of each month and the table is in front of us and we make planning, we make task sharing. Budget is created, and when the budget is not adequate, sponsors are found. We plan it at the board of directors (BJK Krdz. Eregli Director), “There are requests made from us, we receive them as letters, they come from citizens, and then as the board of directors, we evaluate them, we collect fees. We have revenues from FB product sales. We obtain revenues from combinations, and we talk about how we can make use of these revenues. We use all of our revenues in charity works. We spend the revenues in CSR projects (FB Biga Director)” and “We collect money, if there is deficit for such a project, we sell a product sold for 30 Liras at Fenerium for 50 Liras and save money and do that project. Again, for example, in the pocket of each administration board member, there is one Fenerbahce combined card. What does this worth as 1500 TL, according to our decision in our joint meeting, when we don’t go to the game, we rent this at the price of a seat. Revenue coming from here goes to the association, project budget (FB Bolu Director)” “For instance, a kid wants to meet Selçuk Inan, we made his wish come true. There is a request, a wish (GS Ultraslan Denizli Director) and “For instance, we create resources for CSR projects for example at the association. Bicycle campaign and for example, money is deposited to the bank account. If companies do this, they cannot collect money like this, we collect money, for instance. For example, we send letters to businessmen about doing a bicycle campaign. Businessmen donate whatever they can give, again in Ramadan month we donate food by receiving subsistence allowance. We collect this from the citizens again (FB Biga Director) show that there are requests or wishes from the public to the fan organizations and these are evaluated in the administration boards of fan organizations. Moreover, it was revealed in the held interviews that in addition to the membership fees, donations were received from businessmen and public, combinations were rented, and revenue was provided for CSR projects by member fees, annual calendar sales, sweepstakes, product sales, etc. Reiche (9) indicates that Mainz Help, the foundation of Mainz soccer club, one of German Bundesliga teams, finances itself by the membership fees of its fans in CSR projects. Therefore, as it is clear in the participants’ remarks, fan organizations create different revenue items not only by membership fees and they form resources for CSR projects.
It is seen that the fan organizations collaborated with their own fan organizations in clothing, book and office supply aid project in village schools throughout Turkey as included in Table 1, aid in natural disasters and in aid made to LOSEV, and they plan their activities by using mass communication channels and social media. This situation expands the introduction of CSR projects, and increases donations made to the campaign and makes up an important matter for fulfilling the purpose of the project. Accordingly, the participants’ statements “We are careful to conduct projects where we can create social awareness in local basis (Hes projects and Green Road, etc.) or on matters that affected everyone (LOSEV, Van earthquake, etc.) in social sense. We do this successfully in both tribune and social media right now” and “We use our social media accounts, tribune and our own web site to use social responsibility projects effectively and to inform every one. If we think that we will be more effective by opening a hastag in our Twitter account, we start the job by opening a hastag (TS Vira Director)”, “We provide communication in our telephone and facebook page, in whatsapp groups. Right now, we update and publish in twitter account of communication channels where lonely people can reach (GS)” and “We have accounts in social media and they give news about our activities. Like blood donation campaign (GS)” summarize this situation. In addition, Ultraslan (GS) fan group makes sharing about CSR projects by means of social media and wants support (41) or the fans make sharing in social media about CSR projects of their fan organizations for reminding purposes such as “Have you joined the donation campaigns “My Scarf is Yours my Brother!” “Make a Wish, We are Coming” (42) and these can be shown as examples. Onat and Alikilic (43) express that social web sites such as FACEBOOK, TWITTER which are established for various purposes, ensure generalization of CSR projects in large masses. Furthermore, they indicate that social media can be used for introduction of CSR projects to the concerned groups and finding support. It can also be stated that fan organizations can turn this to an advantage for the success of a project by using social web sites effectively.
Attitude of the soccer clubs about CSR activities in the research occurred as one of the factors ensuring advantage for fan organizations to turn to CSR activities. “Since we weren’t engaged in social activities for a certain period three years ago, and your association didn’t do activities at the club, a warning letter reached for closing up for a certain period. This has something to do with the perspective of the club completely. The club says that if you don’t have benefit to your people, nation, close that association. It says remove my signboard. It says close up if you are using my emblem, if you don’t do it. After this warning letter came, this stimulated us. We say that if we are representing FB, we need to be useful to the society, we say we will do this or we will close the association (FB Bolu Director)”, “we do social activities as 140 associations together within the country and abroad, the club has personnel on pay for the associations, they formed a professional team and they said you ensure coordination of the associations, such a professional structure affects success (FB Biga Director) and “We supported the book campaign which was started by the club throughout Turkey. We donated clothing, which was started by the club, at the east and southeast by the participation of all associations (FB Biga Director)”and as it is seen in these participant statements, FB club mandates and directs fan organizations in CSR projects matter, and pressurize fan organizations on this direction, and these could be evaluated as an important and encouraging matter in the realization and continuity of CSR activities by the fan organization. Holt et al (44) draw attention to the relationships between fan organizations and soccer clubs and indicates that these relationships are weak to ensure mutual benefit and gain, and the relationships should be strengthened by social activities. Breitbarth and Harris (3) state that soccer clubs should establish mutual relationships with city councils, fan groups and media as an inseparable part of society, and should contribute to the development of social life. Accordingly, it can be said that FB club has managed this situation. FB club supervises and directs CSR activities by forming a unit that is responsible for administrators at the deputy chairman level and for associations, and this shows the presence of a professional approach. Thus, it can be stated that the relationships with the fan organizations strengthened and contribution was made to CSR projects’ success. Therefore, it is necessary that sports clubs, which have large fan masses in the world, are engaged in CSR activities and in addition, they must include strategic applications directing fan organizations to CSR activities.
Babiak and Wolfe (11) indicate that developing reading sessions with the “read to achieve” project of NFL enabled an increase in volunteer playbook, and they are evaluated as attempts that affect organizational reputation and fan loyalty. Jung (8) indicates that CSR activities of sports clubs affect club image and strengthen loyalty. In the research, when the statements such as “Social responsibility is a task that needs to be treated very sensitively. If you do something really good, you both help people and carry the name of your group and club to some place good and ensure that they are remembered well. As Vira is referred positively by these projects, its contribution to Trabzonspor turns out to be positive. For example, perspective of people who are not Trabzonspor supporters change positively towards the club (TS Vira Director)”, “Kids really get affected by the activities, at least when they grow up and become 20-30 years old, I think that they will not swear at Fenerbahce. Club image becomes stronger. If we diminish antipathy to FB, it is enough (FB Bolu Director) “We think that we contribute to Besiktaş with these activities. People change their opinions about our club positively (BJK Krdz. Eregli Director) and “as we carry out social responsibility projects, we gain supporters in the places we are in. This in turn enables putting FB love to the forefront throughout Turkey. In Biga also FB love is at the forefront (FB Biga Director)” are evaluated, it can be said that fan organizations as sports organization gain reputation in the society by CSR projects and contributes to the creation of positive image both for sports club and them. Again, when the comment “I congratulate Bolu Fenerbahce fans association as a Besiktas fan” DDMSONMEZ Rumuzlu Kullanici, 45) made to the news included in a newspaper site of CSR project of a supporter organizations is evaluated, it can be expressed that CSR projects gain reputation to the rival soccer club fans as well. As mentioned in the research before, the target group in CSR projects is children mostly. When the statements “We select children at the elementary school age especially as we carry out projects. The greatest purpose for this is to popularize Fenerbahce supporting. Our target group is children in general. You cannot teach old dog new tricks. (FB Bolu Director). “Gifts given to children are more appreciated in comparison to adults. And for example we give year books and mugs. And these things are more appreciated. We target children and earn supporters (FB Bolu Director). “For instance, some children who did not benefit from our projects come to our association and want to become a member in our group name Eagle’s Nest. This way, their loyalty to Besiktas is registered (BJK Krdz. Eregli Director) are considered, it can be said that the participants earn new potential fans by CSR projects targeting children. Reiche (2013) indicated similarly to the research findings that most soccer clubs focused on children in social projects, and children will be fans purchasing products and tickets in the future and they are potential customers and when children decide to be supporter of a sports club, they can form loyalty to the club all of their lives generally. Therefore, it can be stated that ensuring early communication with children by means of social projects contributes in earning potential supporter and supporter loyalty. Walters and Tacon (2010) stated that UK soccer clubs need to address CSR to increase and sustain fan number. Again Reiche (2013) indicated that when children decide to become a fan of a club, they often form loyalty to the club during all of their lives. When the participant statements are evaluated such as “Again, we shop at Fenerium for donations. We even buy office supplies from Fenerium, this way we contribute to the club (Bolu FB Director), “As CSR projects increased, shopping from Fenerium increased every day (FB Biga Director) and “For instance, I say how many people you can cover with a project, and then the regions, their representatives, buy materials from GS Store mostly. Then, they are sent to the center, to Istanbul (GS), it can be stated that fan organizations shop at soccer clubs’ sale stores in donations (clothing, office supplies, etc.) that they make to the needy and contribute financially to the soccer clubs. This in turn can be evaluated as a financial support to the soccer clubs.
Sports organizations aim to have wide scale missions frequently to prevent violence of fan groups. Correct use of human resources activities by a determined mission can give positive results (Alexander et al, 2011). One of these missions is to reflect CSR understanding to fan organizations. Statements such as “Since the conducted activities are seen at the club as well and the records are kept, thanks to them, they give priority to our association in a visit or relationship with the club. They are received better and they enjoy a warmer relationship (FB Biga Director) and Our Club Chief says to the other fan associations of our club that there is a Karadeniz Eregli association, go take there as an example. Their treatment to us is warmer in comparison to other associations. In addition, we were selected and awarded 4 times in a row as the association of the year in the web site of the club (BJK Krdz. Eregli Director) and the news such as “Karadeniz Eregli BJK Association has been selected as the best association for the last five years by Kartal news Internet new site, which is the official site of BJK sports club. In this selection, it was emphasized that participating in 33 different projects in 2015 for social purpose is the most important factor” (46) shows that Fenerbahce and Besiktas clubs care more for fan organizations which carry out CSR projects, and they have positive approach to these clubs and these organizations differentiate from other fan organizations with CSR projects in the eyes of the club.
Again in the research, it is observed that different sports clubs take part in the same CSR project together (for example, blood donation campaign). The statements of the participants such as “We are together in Biga with GS, BJK and FB associations. This is something not seen in the world, our distances are very close, we are like brothers. Of course, the sharing and success of the social projects that we conducted together is great (FB Biga Director) and “We established brotherhood of colors group with the chairmen of other fan clubs. We as the four associations started blood campaign as 500 units and 100 bone marrow transplantation stem cell. We received 100 units of stem cells. This social activity conduced to be in a friendlier and closer relationship. For instance, they celebrated birth days of other fan groups and bought a present together (BJK Krdz. Eregli Director) can be evaluated as an important finding revealing this situation. When the size of the rivalry between the soccer clubs BJK, FB, GS and TS, which are called the 4 greatest in Turkey and violence acts are considered, it is observed that participation of different soccer club fan organizations in a joined social project strengthens the relationships positively. Projects which ensure social benefit are effective practices to bring the different soccer club fans together. Thus, it can be stated that they contribute to the relationships between different fan organizations to be friendlier.
It is known that soccer club fans get together within more than one club. For example, in addition to Vira fan group in Trabzonspor, there are different organizations such as the maroon and blue net Trabzonspor association and the youngsters from Trabzon. When the statements “Trabzonspor fans have the opportunity to see everything we do in our group, social responsibility projects are included in this. When they see this closer, or when they help our mentioned project, their positivity to our group increases one fold. This separates us in the eyes of that fan as Vira and the others. They join us, they want to watch games with us, they want to participate in our activities. Then, we carry out the next social responsibility project or another important activity with them. This way, we expand as a group and become a large family having relationships with each other instead of a group in a place (TS Vira Director)” are evaluated, it can be stated that there is a rivalry about inclusion of social projects between the different fan organizations of the same sports club as well and at this point CSR projects provide difference. This way, it can be said that social projects contribute to the growth of fan group and formation of closer relationships between the fan groups.
In addition, it can be said that the participant statements in the research such as “a more comfortable living environment is formed when our friends and other clubs carry out studies together in every place I have been. We can establish good relationships (FB Biga Director) and “It strengthens solidarity within group. When you see that you help other people and other things, you become happy. We receive positive feedbacks from our fans and fans of other teams. Social responsibility projects take us away from being only a regular tribune support group and at the same time it enables us to be a social group and enables us to be referred this way. It made us friendlier (TS Vira Director)” that CSR projects cause strengthening of relationships between the fans and leave a positive impression.
When the social responsibility projects shown in Table 1 are considered in the research, activities about the religious and national holidays in Turkey (April 23rd Children’s Day, Sacrifice Holyday, circumcision feast, etc.) and special days celebrated all over the world are included. The statements such as “We turn April 23rd to a complete children’s holyday in Biga and we celebrate in Biga with formal ceremonies. We have been celebrating April 23rd children’s day since 2004. On this day, we distribute bicycles to the needy and successful students determined by the directors. We contribute both to Biga and Fenerbahce in terms of both protocol and also with our people (FB Biga Director)”, “I told one of the kids we took to the movies that FB association is taking you to the movies because of April 23rd, and the kid told me brother I have a GS uniform, I will tear it apart (FB Bolu Director)”, “We prepare banners in special days and nights. Such as formal and religious holydays, mothers’ day, natural disasters, women’s day, etc. In such special days, women’s day for example, we get roses and go downtown and distribute our roses. I know that 30 km was gone to only give roses. We distribute roses on November 24th teachers’ day. We send policemen and soldiers who work New Year’s Eve cakes and flowers. We wish them success in their duties. When we go to the police station, even FB and GS supporters say what you do cannot be paid for. We sacrifice animals and give them to the society for the protection of children. We prepare Ramadan packages and distribute them to houses. After wishing merry holydays, we visit nursing homes and give socks to men and scarves to women. We do these traditionally every year (BJK Krdz. Eregli Director)” show that fan organizations plan for “special days” in CSR projects This in turn contribute to participation in the projects to be great and contribute to the increase of the reached persons and ensures success of CSR projects of the fan organization and raises more awareness to the fan organization.
Today, soccer clubs carry out CSR projects increasing gradually. One of these clubs is fan organizations. In the present study, it was observed that fan organizations focus on children, the disabled, patients and students in general, and include projects to raise awareness in public on for example environment and education issues. It was revealed that CSR projects are planned by the evaluation of needs and requests and resource was established to the projects by donations from the public, members and sponsors and by revenue items. It is another matter that partnerships are formed about the projects by non-governmental organizations such as Losev and Red Crescent. It is also observed that again fan organizations continue some CSR projects each year traditionally.
It is observed that fan organizations take active role in meeting necessities of the society by CSR projects, in mingling of society, and in raising awareness in important areas such as health and education. It is observed that fan organizations ensure positive effect to the image of sports club they support with these activities, and on the other hand, they earn supports to the soccer club and loyalty of their supporters is strengthened. It is revealed that fan organizations shop at retail stores of soccer clubs for donations they make such as clothing and office supplies and contribute financially to the clubs. It is remarkable that CSR activities enable mingling of fan organizations within themselves, and put forward warmer relationship. In addition, it is observed that FB, GS, BJK and TS fan organizations take part in CSR projects together and this situation develop solidarity between the fan organizations and contribute to achieving a friendly setting. Especially encouragement of fan organizations by soccer clubs in the issue of CSR activities, use of social media effectively by fan organizations, follow up of a planned process, and dispersion of them in almost all regions in the country provide advantage in the success of CSR projects. In conclusion, it is revealed that fan organizations in Turkey take role effectively in CSR activities and this way, they provide gains to the society, themselves and their clubs.
APPLICATION IN SPORT
Based on this research, it can be said that professional sports clubs’ fan organizations taking a role in CSR projects can have positive effects on the club they support and themselves. Therefore, fan organizations must include CSR projects in their activities more. It can be stated that professional sports clubs with great fan masses should include strategic applications to direct fan organizations to CSR activities and in this direction, they should encourage fan organizations.
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