You Can Even Walk Alone: Stadium Attendance and Professional Soccer Clubs’ Social Role
The purpose of the paper is to suggest a new perspective on the social role in the community for Italian professional soccer clubs. Our findings loosen the knot between hooligans and clubs and could have important consequences on the club’s corporate social responsibility and marketing strategies. After investigating the impact of stadium attendance on team performance for Serie A and B in seasons 2004/05 through 2006/07, we conclude that crowd plays no role in the winning performance of soccer teams at home. Our proposal consists of two policies hinting at a reconciliation between social and educational role of the sport with the club’s commercial interests. The first policy is to establish an umbrella association whose membership is granted only to fans with a clear history as regards to crimes committed inside the arena and in the surrounding area, therefore hooligans are excluded. The umbrella association is administered by the club and embeds every supporters’ associations. The second policy uses ticket price fixing to discriminate against bad behaviour, excluding violent supporters from the stadium. Very high prices are imposed to non-member fans (presumably, all the bad guys) and to wealthy people requesting more comfort and additional services. Members in the umbrella association are allowed high discounts on the tickets as an incentive receive for being scrutinized. Popular prices or free tickets can be offered to other social relevant stakeholders such as grassroots, youngsters and for social policies aimed at inclusion. Key words: professional team sports; home advantage; 12th man; ticket pricing fixing strategies; corporate social responsibility; panel data
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