IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Infant Mortality of Professional Sports Clubs: An Organizational Ecology Perspective


  • Frick Bernd

    () (Department of Management, University of Paderborn,Warburger Strasse 100, 33098 Paderborn, Germany, and Institute for Labor and Personnel Management, Mobile Life Campus, Volkswagen AG, Hermann-Münch-Strasse 1, 38440 Wolfsburg and Institute for Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Community, University of Trier, Campus II, 54286 Trier)

  • Wallbrecht Björn

    () (University of Paderborn, Department of Management,Warburger Strasse 100, 33098 Paderborn, Germany)


Due to their limited financial resources winning the national championship or qualifying for an international cup competition is not a viable option for most small market clubs in any of the European professional team sports leagues, such as soccer, ice hockey, basketball or handball. However, since a particularly poor performance is usually punished by relegation and since being relegated to the respective second division is associated with a dramatic decline in revenues, avoiding relegation is a target in itself. Using data from seven different professional team sports leagues in four different countries we estimate various parametric and semi-parametric regression models to identify the determinants of the clubs’ length of stay in their respective first division. In line with the organizational ecology literature we find that club experience, previous club performance (number of previous championship titles and number of previous relegations) and market size (average attendance) affect survival in a statistically significant and economically relevant sense. Perhaps surprisingly, founding conditions seem to be irrelevant for a club’s length of stay in its respective first division.

Suggested Citation

  • Frick Bernd & Wallbrecht Björn, 2012. "Infant Mortality of Professional Sports Clubs: An Organizational Ecology Perspective," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 232(3), pages 360-389, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:232:y:2012:i:3:p:360-389

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Belleflamme & Eric Toulemonde, 2009. "Negative Intra-Group Externalities In Two-Sided Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 245-272, February.
    2. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-864, October.
    3. Kesenne, Stefan, 2000. "The Impact of Salary Caps in Professional Team Sports," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 47(4), pages 422-430, September.
    4. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Advertising as a Good or Bad," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(4), pages 941-964.
    5. Helmut M. Dietl & Markus Lang & Stephan Werner, 2009. "Social Welfare in Sports Leagues with Profit-Maximizing and/or Win-Maximizing Clubs," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 375-396, October.
    6. Christian Riis & Derek J. Clark, 1997. "Contest success functions: an extension," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 11(1), pages 201-204.
    7. Mark Armstrong, 2006. "Competition in two‐sided markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 668-691, September.
    8. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
    9. Claude Crampes & Carole Haritchabalet & Bruno Jullien, 2005. "Advertising, Competition and Entry in Media Industries," CESifo Working Paper Series 1591, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Caillaud, Bernard & Jullien, Bruno, 2003. " Chicken & Egg: Competition among Intermediation Service Providers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 309-328, Summer.
    11. Rodney Fort & Young Hoon Lee, 2007. "Structural Change, Competitive Balance, And The Rest Of The Major Leagues," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 519-532, July.
    12. Simon Rottenberg, 1956. "The Baseball Players' Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 242-242.
    13. Helmut M. Dietl & Egon Franck & Markus Lang, 2008. "Overinvestment In Team Sports Leagues: A Contest Theory Model," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 55(3), pages 353-368, July.
    14. Rodney Fort & Jason Winfree, 2009. "Sports Really are Different: The Contest Success Function and the Supply of Talent," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 34(1), pages 69-80, February.
    15. Sonia Falconieri & Frédéric Palomino & József Sákovics, 2004. "Collective Versus Individual Sale of Television Rights in League Sports," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 833-862, September.
    16. Helmut M. Dietl & Markus Lang, 2008. "The Effect Of Gate Revenue Sharing On Social Welfare," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(3), pages 448-459, July.
    17. Stergios Skaperdas, 1996. "Contest success functions (*)," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 7(2), pages 283-290.
    18. Julian Wright, 2004. "The Determinants of Optimal Interchange Fees in Payment Systems," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 1-26, March.
    19. David S. Evans & Andrei Hagiu & Richard Schmalensee, 2005. "A Survey of the Economic Role of Software Platforms in Computer-based Industries," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 51(2-3), pages 189-224.
    20. Mark Armstrong & Julian Wright, 2007. "Two-sided Markets, Competitive Bottlenecks and Exclusive Contracts," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(2), pages 353-380, August.
    21. Stefan Szymanski & Stefan KÈsenne, 2004. "Competitive balance and gate revenue sharing in team sports," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 165-177, March.
    22. Dietl Helmut M & Lang Markus & Rathke Alexander, 2009. "The Effect of Salary Caps in Professional Team Sports on Social Welfare," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-23, April.
    23. Daniel R. Marburger, 1997. "Gate Revenue Sharing And Luxury Taxes In Professional Sports," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(2), pages 114-123, April.
    24. Schmalensee, Richard, 2002. "Payment Systems and Interchange Fees," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 103-122, June.
    25. Markus Reisinger & Ludwig Ressner & Richard Schmidtke, 2009. "TWO-SIDED MARKETS WITH PECUNIARY AND PARTICIPATION EXTERNALITIES -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 32-57, March.
    26. El-Hodiri, Mohamed & Quirk, James, 1971. "An Economic Model of a Professional Sports League," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(6), pages 1302-1319, Nov.-Dec..
    27. Wright, Julian, 2003. "Optimal card payment systems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(4), pages 587-612, August.
    28. Oliver Gürtler, 2007. "A Rationale for the Coexistence of Central and Decentral Marketing in Team Sports," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 8, pages 89-106, February.
    29. Nelson, Philip, 1974. "Advertising as Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 729-754, July/Aug..
    30. Martin Grossmann & Helmut M. Dietl, 2009. "Investment Behaviour in a Two-Period Contest Model," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 165(3), pages 401-417, September.
    31. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Economic Design of Sporting Contests," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1137-1187, December.
    32. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan, 2001. "Information Gatekeepers on the Internet and the Competitiveness of Homogeneous Product Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 454-474, June.
    33. Dixit, Avinash K, 1987. "Strategic Behavior in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 891-898, December.
    34. Thomas Hoehn & Stefan Szymanski, 1999. "The Americanization of European football," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(28), pages 203-240, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Team sports leagues; survival; relegation;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:232:y:2012:i:3:p:360-389. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.