Willingness-to-Pay for Memberships in Nonprofit Sports Clubs: The Role of Organizational Capacity

Philipp Swierzy
Pamela Wicker
and Christoph Breuer

Empirical research analyzing willingness-to-pay (WTP) for memberships in nonprofit sports clubs has focused on individual factors and neglected the role of organizational characteristics. However, social ecological theory suggests that contextual factors also determine individual behavior. This study’s purpose is to examine the relationship between sports club organizational capacity and individual WTP for memberships. Members participated in an online survey including a contingent valuation method (CVM) scenario to elicit WTP (n = 648). Organizational capacity was assessed in a separate club survey (n = 228). Mean WTP is approximately €10.50 per month, representing a 30% increase in the current membership fee. Multi-level analyses reveal that human resources, financial, and structural capacities significantly influence WTP: If clubs break even, but also in case of financial problems, members are willing to pay higher fees. Problems concerning the availability of facilities are positively related to relative WTP, while problems concerning their condition are negatively associated with it.

JEL classification: D12, D14, L83, Z23