Chasing a Tiger in a network society? Hull City’s proposed name change in the pursuit of China and East Asia’s new middle class consumers

John Hayton, Peter Millward, Renan Petersen-Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The English Premier League possesses multiple global dimensions, including its clubs’ economic ownership, player recruitment patterns and television broadcasts of its matches. The owner of Hull City Association Football Club’s economic rights, Dr Assam Allam, announced plans to re-name the club ‘Hull City Tigers’ in an attempt to re-orientate the club towards seemingly lucrative East Asian, and specifically Chinese, markets in 2013. This article, first, draws upon Manuel Castells’ work in The Rise of the Network Society to critically discuss the logic of Hull City’s proposed reorientation to suit ‘new middle class’ consumers in China and the East Asian global region and second, uses the example to theoretically engage with Castells’ idea that ‘networks’ replace ‘hierarchies’ as social structures. This leads to the argument that while these plans might intend to strengthen the club’s financial position, they overlook a concern with local environments that Castells guides us toward. By looking toward the local consumer practices in China and the East Asian global region, Allam would find: (a) the normalisation in production and consumption of counterfeit club-branded sportswear and television broadcasts which makes increasing the club’s revenues difficult; and (b) that the region’s ‘new middle classes’ (marked by disposable income) are unlikely to foster support for Hull City, even if ‘Tigers’ is added to its name.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-298
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Volume52
Issue number3
Early online date3 Jun 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
Externally publishedYes

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