Do public subsidies and facility coverage matter for voluntary sports clubs?

Karsten Elmose-Østerlund*, Evald Bundgård Iversen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In many countries, voluntary sports clubs are the main recipients of public subsidies regarding the provision of recreational sport, and the economically most important level of government is usually the local government (i.e. the municipalities). The purpose of this article is to examine whether and how municipal framework conditions matter for sports clubs. Inspired by previous studies, we examine the role of direct and indirect public subsidies as well as facility coverage. The authors conduct analyses on a general level (for all sports) and specifically for five sports (badminton, football, gymnastics, handball and swimming). The differentiation between sports allows us to examine how municipal framework conditions might be associated differently with density and participation across sports. In the statistical analyses, the authors apply data collected among all 98 Danish municipalities. The results show that the municipal levels of direct and indirect subsidies are weakly correlated with both the density of and participation in sports clubs, while stronger correlations can be identified with regard to facility coverage. The analyses for the five sports reveal that the supply of relevant facility types is – with few exceptions – positively correlated with sports club density and participation levels within each sport. Thus, facility coverage seems to play a more important role for sports clubs than the levels of indirect and particularly direct subsidies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSport Management Review
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)315-329
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Municipalities
  • Public funding
  • Sports facilities
  • Sports management
  • Sports participation
  • Sports policy

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Do public subsidies and facility coverage matter for voluntary sports clubs?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this