Gannon University Professor Co-Authors International Book

Posted: January 7, 2016

While you might not think that North America has much to teach Europe about how the game of soccer is played, there is little doubt that Europeans are interested in the way the game is marketed on this side of the Atlantic.

Gannon University's Eric Brownlee, Ph.D. is one of the teachers. Brownlee, who is director of the sport management and marketing program at Gannon, is the co-author of a chapter in a book, "Marketing du football," just published in France.

Brownlee says the chapter is the first of its kind in France and compares the marketing and sales strategies of Major League Soccer (MLS) in the U.S. with the strategies employed in major European soccer.

Brownlee and his co-author, Nicholas Lorgnier, Ph.D. of Canisius College, uncovered some fundamental differences.

"The World Cup is the most watched sport event in the world, but most of the major European soccer leagues rely a little too heavily on the product itself and there is not much customer service or creativity [in] marketing the teams," Brownlee said. "My French colleagues were very adamant telling me that they believe the U.S. is the best country in the world when it comes to marketing and sales strategies related to professional sports. The MLS has been experiencing explosive growth in recent years and much of it is due to the unique setup they have with a centralized National Sales Training Center and the focus on the fan experience. The book chapter serves as the first analysis of these strategies specifically for French sport business students and practitioners and should be heavily utilized in France."

Brownlee met Lorgnier and Nicolas Chanavat from the University of Paris-Sud at a sport marketing conference in Pittsburgh. "Pittsburgh is my hometown so I got to know both Nicholas and Nicolas very well and I showed them around the city and spent time together talking about sports and marketing. They were interested in my industry connections to major U.S. professional and college sports and we decided to add the chapter to the textbook after our initial meeting," Brownlee explained.

A wrestler in his competitive days, Brownlee is a new fan to the world's most popular sport. His current rooting interest in MLS is the Philadelphia Union and Everton F.C., an English Premier League team in Liverpool. "I am still a relative rookie when it comes to my knowledge of soccer, but have significant experience selling tickets and advertising in the sports industry, and I continue to do this as part of my classes at Gannon," he said.