Provincial Consumer Preferences and Fragmented Sport Governance: Demand for Professional Boxing in Germany
Research presented here aims to contribute to the literature on demand for individual sports and its implications for industry structure. It is argued that “provincial” preferences, that is, a dominant interest in national identification or local stars, might account for the persistence of fragmented governance of boxing. The analyses of a unique dataset on professional free-to-air boxing telecasts in Germany defy the idea that preferences for national idols and local stars are dominant motives for German sports audiences. Local stardom certainly plays an important role, but a strong impact of scheduling was detected. Moreover, consumers seem to rely on simple heuristics for judging the quality of a fight. The results suggest that boxing’s fragmented governance structure served to cater to the provincial tastes of German consumers. Accordingly, in order to mitigate potential governance fragmentation, emerging combat sports have to find ways to satisfy the demand for local idols and meaningful titles in their competition structure.