2014 Volume 24 Issue 2 Pages 2_169-2_184
This study uses property rights theory to comparatively analyze the institutional design of the spectator sports business by examining both a company basketball club and a professional basketball club of Japan’ s top basketball league, whose hometowns were adjacent to each other. Then we try to clarify the possibilities and problems of the institutional transition from a company club to a professional club. To evaluate the “property” (attributes of goods and services) in the spectator sports businesses, we administered a questionnaire survey to spectators attending home games of each club, in which we asked fans if their motivation consisted of “team attachment,” “player attachment,” “sports attachment,” and/or “community pride.” Employees and stakeholders of both clubs were interviewed to identify the assignment of property rights to utilize the value corresponding to the fans’ motivation.
Our results showed that company club fans showed significantly higher “player attachment,” while professional club fans showed significantly higher “community pride.” Moreover, despite the fans’ higher player attachment, the company clubs failed to efficiently utilize “player value” (an attribute of spectator sports that motivated fans via player attachment) because the required property rights actually belong to the parent company, which employs players as full-time employees of the main business, rather than as players. However, the economic advantage that company athletes gained from simultaneously performing a double role (top athlete and full-time employee) provided the company clubs more opportunities to recruit players than the professional clubs, whose budgets for player salaries were limited. In contrast, professional clubs had control over most of the property rights required to utilize the element “value for community resource,” (an attribute of spectator sports that motivated fans via community pride) although these rights were dispersed to stakeholders who had little incentive to engage in the community activities from a medium- and long-term perspective in the company clubs. More fans attended home games of the professional clubs than company clubs, and the utilization of the value for community resources was one factor behind this difference. Therefore, assigning property rights of the value for community resources and also the lack of human resources of business management in company club can be considered the key aspects of institutional design required by spectator sports businesses and the answer to the problem of successful institutional transition from a company club to a professional club.