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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

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    Team sports leagues; survival; relegation;


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