Does Star Power Boost Soccer Match Attendance? Empirical Evidence from the Chinese Soccer League

Bo Li
Yuanyang Liu
Jerred Junqi Wang
Olan K.M. Scott
and Sarah Stokowski

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of star power on game attendance. The essential aspect of demand for sport events is fan interest, which can be shown through match attendance, watching contests, buying team-related products, and following a team on media. To conduct this study, all attendance data from the 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons of the Chinese Super League were used to understand which factors impacted spectator attendance. Results of this study found that high profile teams, traditional rivalries or derbies, and famous foreign players can positively impact attendance at both home and away games, while members of the Chinese National Team had a negative impact on attendance. These results will give team owners a better understanding of Chinese soccer fans’ interests, ultimately leading to maximizing profit generation in ticket and merchandise sales. Implications for both sport managers and scholars are discussed.