Boosting Football Club Brands Through Museums: The Experience of Mondo Milan

Boosting Football Club Brands Through Museums: The Experience of Mondo Milan

Marta Massi (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy), Chiara Piancatelli (SDA Bocconi School of Management, Italy) and Piergiacomo Mion (SDA Bocconi School of Management, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7617-4.ch006
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This chapter focuses on the relatively recent phenomenon of the creation of museums by football clubs and discusses the role of football club museums as “branding platforms.” The authors review the case of Mondo Milan, an innovative museum founded in 2014 by A.C. Milan, to illustrate how the development of football club museums represents a marketing strategy aimed at boosting the club brand and broadening the club customer base. The analysis of the case—supported by an interview with the Marketing and B2C Sales Director of Mondo Milan—shows how football club museums represent an opportunity not only for generating revenue but also for attracting new market segments that can engage in the history and values of the club and enhancing their brand awareness and image.
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This chapter will examine the relatively recent phenomenon of the creation of museums by football clubs. The growing interest in this type of museums can be understood in the context of the evolution of museums from mere inaccessible and elitist temples to “unabashed crowd-pleasers that appeal to entertainment as much as education” (Ramshaw, 2010, p. 384). Despite the increasing interest of football clubs in developing their own museums, the role of sports in museums has received scant attention (Ramshaw, 2010; Moore, 2016; Ramshaw, Gammon & Waterton, 2014). Only recently, are scholars looking at football club museums based on the assumption that “football counts as culture just as much as opera does” (Greer, 2008).

Due to loss and other economic issues, football clubs have been increasingly looking for new ways to generate revenues by exploring the possibilities of making income through alternatives that are not directly related to their core business (Ernest, 2018). In particular, a recent trend in the sector has been the creation of museums as an alternative source of revenue. A new way of ‘consuming sports’ has, therefore, been slowly emerging, based on the assumption that sports entertainment should cover “more ground than watching a game or attending a fan day of your favorite club” (Ernest, 2018). In this sense, the stadium and the club have become “venues that can be set to daily commercial use” (Ernest, 2018).

Especially major sport clubs have started developing their own museums. Examples include the Real Madrid Museum, based in the Bernabeu Stadium, which has become one of the most visited museums in Spain with 1,2 million visitors a year; and the third most visited museum in Madrid, following the Reina Sofia Museum (2,6 million visitors) and the Prado Museum (2,5 million visitors). Similarly, the FC Barcelona Museum has reached 1,53 million visitors in 2017 establishing itself as the most visited in Cataluña after the Dalì Museum (1,3 million) and Picasso Museum (920 thousand visitors). In Italy, the Juventus Museum has reached one million visitors in 2017, ranking 43rd in the Italian museums ranking (La Stampa, 2018).

Football club museums provide visitors with an experience that combines the display of rare historical memorabilia and the most modern and interactive technologies. Trophies and other mementos of the football club are displayed in a spectacular way, contributing to the storytelling of the Club and creating an experience that allows visitors to relive the emotions elicited by the history of the Club. In this way, memories and testimonies blend with the artefacts in a crescendo of emotions. Such museums reflect a “strange hybrid of approaches that incorporate both passive and spectacular consumption as well as active and tactile consumption” (Ramshaw, 2010, p. 49).

The authors will illustrate the case of Mondo Milan, an innovative museum founded in 2014. Unlike other football club museums, which are based in the Stadium where the football teams usually play the matches, Mondo Milan has its own venue and represents a unicum in the sector. Mondo Milan is based in the headquarter of A.C. Milan, the worldwide known football club based in Milan, Italy, and includes a Store with the Official Merchandising, a restaurant and a box office in addition to the museum. Mondo Milan organizes temporary exhibitions dedicated to historical insights on the international competitions and hosts a gallery dedicated to contemporary art where young artists can exhibit their works on the football team colors and icons of A.C. Milan.

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