The value of having a first-tier football club in the municipality (even) when tangible benefits are absent

Christian Gjersing Nielsen (Danish Institute for Sports Studies, Aarhus, Denmark)
Line Bjørnskov Pedersen (Research Unit for General Practice, Danish Centre for Health Economics, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark)
Rasmus K. Storm (Danish Institute for Sports Studies, Aarhus, Denmark) (Business School, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Publication date: 8 July 2019



The purpose of this paper is to examine citizens’ willingness to pay (WTP), in relation to having a professional first-tier football club in a medium-sized Danish municipality, when tangible economic benefits such as economic growth and/or inbound migration produced by these are absent.


Using the contingent valuation method on survey respondents, the study examines factors affecting WTP using binary logistic regression and interval regression and further extrapolates the WTP from the sample to the municipal population.


Citizens significantly value having a first-tier football club in their municipality even when tangible benefits are absent, although a large proportion of respondents stated to be against the municipality being financially involved in professional team sports clubs (PTSC). WTP is largely driven by interest in sports and the local football club. It is argued that the findings cannot be generalized across contexts.

Research limitations/implications

There can be circumstances where public subsidy of PTSCs is beneficial to economic welfare. However, authorities should be careful in their evaluation of whether to subsidize PTSCs.


The study expands on existing research by informing respondents about the lack of tangible benefits produced by PTSCs, hereby focusing on WTP on an informed basis.



Nielsen, C., Pedersen, L. and Storm, R. (2019), "The value of having a first-tier football club in the municipality (even) when tangible benefits are absent", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 222-238.

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