The complex challenge of spectator demand: attendance drivers in the Danish men’s handball league

Rasmus K. Storm*, Christian Gjersing Nielsen, Tor Georg Jakobsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Research question: A growing number of studies of professional
team sports have tried to understand the drivers behind matchday
attendance. However, no research has ever been conducted
in relation to team handball. As existing literature mainly focuses
on European football and US Major League sports, club managers
from smaller sports lack the evidence that could assist them in
developing strategies to increase attendance. This study is a step
toward filling this gap.

Research methods: Using robust panel data regression models
deployed on data from Danish men’s team handball league
matches in the seasons from 2011/12 to 2015/16, the study
identifies the main determinants of spectator demand.

Results and findings: The findings are largely consistent with
existing research, but also reveal new insights that seem to be
specific to handball. These include (1) negative effects on
spectator demand due to simultaneous live television coverage of
other league matches; (2) no obvious preferences for weekend
matches and (3) weather-related factors, whereby rain has a
positive effect and snow a negative effect, while variations in
temperature have no effect.

Implications: To maximize spectator attendance, we suggest that
league managers and club representatives take the problem of
simultaneous broadcasts from other league matches into
consideration when planning the schedule in the future. Further,
we argue that games should be placed in the time slots with
highest spectator demand while recognizing that this can be clubspecific.
Finally, we recommend that clubs increase their efforts in
promoting games involving strong away teams.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Sport Management Quarterly
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)652-670
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

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