Nonprofit Pricing: Determinants of Membership Fee Levels in Nonprofit Sports Clubs in Germany

Svenja Feiler
Pamela Wicker
and Christoph Breuer

In Germany, membership fees in nonprofit sports clubs are comparatively lower than fees or prices for other leisure time activities, such as sports offers from fitness clubs, music schools, or theatre visits. However, it is unclear on which basis sports clubs set their membership fees for different groups and why fees differ between clubs. Based on panel data of nonprofit sports clubs in Germany (n=1,538), this study investigates which factors influence the setting of membership fee levels using classical pricing-approaches adapted to the nonprofit context. The results show that costs related to coaches and instructors as well as facility costs significantly determine the level of membership fees, where-as perceived competition does not. Moreover, club goals such as offering competitive sports or sports for socially vulnerable groups have an impact on the level of membership fees. Furthermore, clubs with higher revenue diversification display lower levels of membership fees two years later.

JEL Classifications: D29, D49, D71, L31, L83, Z23