Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Willingness to Pay for Soccer Reports on the Internet

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Willingness to Pay for Soccer Reports on the Internet

Article excerpt


Global reach, together with rapidly increasing broadband coverage, makes the internet a potentially interesting distribution channel for video highlights and full-match viewings. This study investigates willingness to pay as well as consumer preferences for type of report to derive marketing implications for soccer clubs. Survey results from more than 12,000 respondents supporting seven soccer clubs in the German first and second divisions underline the potential of this new distribution channel in finding a high average willingness to pay.


willingness to pay

soccer reports


Choice-Based Conjoint Analysis

broadcasting rights

Executive summary

Professional soccer is truly an international sport. Estimates suggest that there are more than 240 million registered players worldwide, with fan participation in the billions (Terrel et al, 2005). In turn, soccer is growing into a large business, with an estimated market size of [euro]12 billion (Freedman, 2004). Fan support is focused primarily on the local national league; however, through the success of tournaments such as the Champions League and the UEFA Cup, as well as cross-border transfers of top players, fans are becoming increasingly global in their support (Sportfive, 2004). Professional soccer clubs are exploring more and more options to maximise their income as they attempt to recruit and retain top players and succeed in this global industry. The largest sources of income for clubs remain the sales of TV rights, merchandising, advertisement and ticket sales (Deloitte, 2005).

The emergence of broadband access has made the internet a viable media channel for the distribution of video highlight reports. Improved technology combined with the increasing popularity of downloads and streaming services, as well as market acceptance of paid-for content, could provide soccer clubs with a new instrument to market their games worldwide and open up a lucrative source of income (Frey, 2005). Yet while the technical and legal prerequisites for a successful launch of video highlights and full-match viewings on the internet already exist, it is not clear if consumers are willing to pay for such new products or if they would rather stay with long-established alternatives in traditional media.

To launch video reports on the internet successfully, soccer clubs need a clear understanding of consumer preferences for product design and acceptable pricing levels. This study provides insight into the willingness to pay (WTP) for soccer reports on the internet and on segment-specific product design preferences of fans from several soccer clubs in Germany. The analysis comprises 12,619 web respondents for five first-league and two second-league clubs. Two methods, the Contingent Valuation approach and Choice-Based Conjoint Analysis, were applied.

The results show a considerably high average WTP of [euro]3.73 that is comparable to prices for similar streaming or download services on the internet as well as Pay TV sports report offerings and underline a general acceptance of the internet as a commercial distribution channel for soccer reports. Interestingly, there is no significant difference between the WTP of consumers from first- and second-league teams. However, taking international fans into consideration, the average WTP of international consumers is substantially higher ([euro]6.51). In a choice simulation with a full-game and a highlight report, 24% of respondents would purchase either one of the reports at a comparable price to potential substitutes.

Thus the yet undeveloped market of soccer reports via the internet can be viewed as a promising instrument for professional soccer clubs to reach both potential and existing consumers worldwide, to enhance their marketing strategies and to generate new income sources.


With more than 240 million registered players, 300,000 registered clubs, and an estimated fan participation in the billions, soccer is undeniably a global sport. …

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