The business of football
The business of football

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

2.1 Using STEEP to analyse a football business

In the next activity you’ll start using the STEEP model to examine an element of the football business in more detail.

Figure 6 State-of-the-art stadium, the Allianz Arena is home to the German team, Bayern Munich

Activity 3 STEEP factors and football

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

Choose one of the five dimensions of the STEEP model (sociological, technological, economic, environmental or political) and list the ways in which you think that a football club in a particular country would be affected by it.

Click on 'Reveal discussion' to read some of our thoughts.


Some of the factors that may have affected your chosen football club are outlined below:

Sociological: The increase in women and children going to football matches and changes to make grounds more appealing to these audiences might be significant. Other social change factors are the change in attitude towards gay people, the moves to eradicate racism within football over the last 20 years and the increasing pressure on the football community (particularly players and managers) to change as a result.

Technological: The trend towards digitisation and the internet has meant companies like Newscorp (including Sky) and BT have strongly influenced the way football is broadcast across all countries. The recent implementation of goal line technology has also had some impact.

Economic: The economic situation is very different in different countries. There has been an economic impact on the way in which television rights have influenced player wages and attraction of players from overseas to Europe.

Environmental: There might be moves or rhetoric within football clubs to ‘go green’ – this is perhaps more apparent in some countries than others.

Political: Governments have taken action in the past to ensure that football stadiums are safer. Tragedies at Ibrox (1971), Bradford (1985), Heysel (985) and Hillsborough (1989) eventually stimulated regulatory action in the UK in the 1990s. The political will to deregulate broadcasting allowing multiple channels might also be considered a political factor – this obviously links to the technological element. Another interpretation of political elements at play might be in the workings of various ruling bodies such as The FA, UEFA and FIFA. For example the introduction of the financial fair play rules by FIFA in the Premier League in the 2013–2014 season had a big effect on the wages to revenue ratio of the clubs.

The STEEP model provides a useful structure for the discussion of the external environment. However, the distinction between the factors is rather artificial. Many political decisions have an economic impact, and almost all economic factors have a political dimension. Social behaviour is influenced by new technology, and in turn influences political decisions. Environmental issues have strong social, political and economic elements, and the introduction of environmentally acceptable solutions often depends on the adoption of and investment in new technology.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371