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Micro and macro level determinants of sport participation

Pamela Wicker (Department of Tourism, Leisure, Hotel and Sport Management, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)
Kirstin Hallmann (Institute of Sport Economics and Sport Management, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany)
Christoph Breuer (Institute of Sport Economics and Sport Management, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 16 March 2012



Sport participation is not exclusively determined by individual socio‐demographic factors (micro level) since infrastructure factors such as the availability of sport facilities and sport programmes (macro level) can also play a role in this regard. The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence for these determinants of sport participation using multi‐level analyses.


A survey among the resident population in the city of Munich was carried out in 2008 (n=11,715). Furthermore, secondary data on the available sport infrastructure in every urban district of Munich (n=25) were collected. Multi‐level analyses were conducted to find the micro and macro level determinants of sport participation.


The results show that aside from micro level factors, the availability of swimming pools and parks is especially important for residents’ sport activity. Moreover, sport activity in non‐profit sport clubs can be enhanced by both a good supply of sport programmes offered by sport clubs as well as a poor supply of programmes from commercial sport providers and the municipality.

Research limitations/implications

Multi‐level analyses can be recommended for future research on sport participation. The use of GIS data would be fruitful in this regard.

Practical implications

It can be recommended that municipalities invest in the construction of swimming pools and parks.


The paper shows that multi‐level analyses are a relatively new method of analysis for research on sport participation and that they represent the most suitable approach for analysing multi‐level data.



Wicker, P., Hallmann, K. and Breuer, C. (2012), "Micro and macro level determinants of sport participation", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 51-68.



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