• Sporting celebrity and conspicuous consumption: A case study of professional footballers in England

      Law, Graeme; Bloyce, Daniel; Waddington, Ivan; York St John University; University of Chester
      Association football is a lucrative sport with high financial rewards for top players. However, there has been little empirical work on the lifestyles of professional footballers. Based on interviews with 29 current and former male professional footballers, this paper examines the relationship between money, status and image management within and outside the changing room. The concept of conspicuous consumption is used to help explain players’ attitudes to money, their relationships with others within the football environment and how they advertise their earnings in an environment where open discussion of wages is seen as taboo. Our findings suggest that professional footballers are expected to display a particular image of the professional footballer and this constrains players, even those on lower incomes, to buy expensive clothes and accessories in order to be accepted by others. Players who do not conform to the expected image may be subject to sanctions by their teammates.