This paper aims to evaluate the applicability of the concept of benchmarking as a research tool for furthering understanding of the management of élite sport systems.
The research used semi‐structured interviews and documentary analysis to investigate the élite sport services offered by two successful Scandinavian sports.
It was found that a number of the services that led to the success of the two investigated systems are strongly context dependent. This suggests that benchmarking is only appropriate as a tool to further understanding of élite sport systems if it is approached as a way of learning, rather than copying.
The research does not consider all élite sport system services.
The research suggests that managers should be careful about tranferring practices directly from other élite sport systems.
This is the first research study to apply benchmarking to the élite sport system context.
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