Faculty Publications

Title

The other Basque subversives: Athletic de Bilbao vs. the new age of soccer

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Sport in Society

Volume

11

Issue

6

First Page

711

Last Page

721

Abstract

Athletic de Bilbao is perhaps the main focus of resistance against the new age of soccer. Athletic has refused to give in to many of the pressures that the new soccer world imposes on teams. It is well known that Athletic hires local players only, keeps an extensive network of youth teams and practices salary containment. Athletic has also resisted converting into a public limited company and remains a club owned by its member fans. It still plays without a sponsor on its shirt and has vowed to accept only local sponsors if at all. It even started its own brand to avoid the pressures of big companies and ensure that the money their fans spend on kits and club paraphernalia stays in the community. It plays in an old stadium where fans bring home-made sandwiches instead of selling out concession stands. Athletic's television ads have underlined the special nature of the club by rejecting convention and embracing the outcast. It remains to be seen if this philosophy can survive the competitive (Athletic almost fell down to the second division for the first time last season) and economic (a brand-new stadium is in the works) challenges ahead.

Original Publication Date

11-1-2008

DOI of published version

10.1080/17430430802283997

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