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Chinese Super League: attendance, pricing, and team performance

Nicholas Watanabe (Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, USA)
Brian Soebbing (Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of team performance, price dispersion – having multiple ticket prices for a single event, and market characteristics on fan attendance. By considering the context of the Chinese Super League (CSL), this study considers multiple strategies for enhancing the demand for sport in relation to factors on- and off-the-field of play.


This study uses economic demand theory to examine consumer interest in sporting events in relation to pricing. Through employing econometric modeling, regression analysis is used to estimate results from match-level data encompassing multiple seasons.


The findings estimated from the linear regressions indicate that using multi-tiered pricing for sporting events does not significantly enhance demand in this context. Furthermore, it is found that consumers are responsive to matches against rival teams and strong opponents.

Research limitations/implications

The results run counter to prior literature on price dispersion, indicating that attendance demand may not always be influenced by the number of price points.

Practical implications

The findings help to develop an understanding of how team performance and pricing are important parts of meeting organizational goals in sport. From this, strategies can be formed to help stakeholders and managers in improving organizational performance.


This research is one of the first to consider the CSL, where both single and multiple price points exist for sporting events. Thus, it helps to build both theoretical and empirical knowledge in regards to the importance of pricing systems.



Watanabe, N. and Soebbing, B. (2017), "Chinese Super League: attendance, pricing, and team performance", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 157-174.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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