Rags to Riches: Business Model Innovation Shifts in the Ecosystem of the Chinese Super League

The Chinese Super League (CSL) has witnessed unprecedented growth in recent years via evolutions in Chinese football clubs’ business models and the league environment.

Doctoral researcher Shuyang Liu and Professor James Skinner both of the Institute for Sport Business and Dr Anna Grosman of the Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, analyse business model innovation (BMI) in the light of changing ecosystem factors via a case study of the Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao Football Club in their forthcoming article.

The authors examine the types of BMI under the Foss and Saebi’s framework (2017), namely evolutionary, focused, adaptive and complex, which assess the scope and novelty of the BMI. The case study captures and categorizes the BMI types of Guangzhou Evergrande by disentangling the key elements of business models and finds that BMI constancy and novelty are vital to the club’s success.

The authors argue that CSL clubs have unique and under-rated value capture structures, where the value is captured by their investors rather than by the clubs themselves. The study identifies policy and investors as the two ecosystem factors within the Chinese football industry that have the most significant influence on the club’s BMI. Being proactive and thinking ahead is vital for clubs to achieve success and the authors provide illustrations on how Guangzhou Evergrande built a competitive advantage through anticipating ecosystem changes and adjusting business models accordingly.

This research contributes to the understanding of the nascent Chinese football ecosystem and the club management and can be applied to other organizations and industries.

The article entitled "From Rags to Riches: Business Model Innovation Shifts in the Ecosystem of the Chinese Super League", will be published in the Journal of Global Sport Manangement. Read the full article here.