Air pollution and attendance in the Chinese Super League (2019)

The authors explore the effect of air pollution (among other factors) on consumer behavior in the China’s most popular soccer league, the Chinese Super League (CSL). They conduct a regression analysis using air quality data and CSL match attendance from 2014–2016, and they find that air pollution has no significant effect on attendance. As the authors note, while this finding may yield an initial sense of relief from league and club management, it signals more troublesome consequences related to the health and wellness of consumers. Based on these findings, the authors argue that, in the absence of larger policy reforms aimed at reducing air pollution, leagues like the CSL should institute new rules that would allow for officials to postpone or cancel matches if the air quality failed to meet a minimum standard. The authors acknowledge these rules could impact ticket sales and sponsorship, but they are necessary because sport organizations need to assume “an active role that negotiates power relations that underlie interactions between sport industry, government, consumers, citizens, and others” (p. 298).


Cite: Watanabe, N.M., Yan, G., Soebbing, B.P. & Fu, W. (2019). Air pollution and attendance in the Chinese Super League: Environmental economics and the demand for sport. Journal of Sport Management, 33, 289-302.

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