nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2009‒08‒08
one paper chosen by
Joao Carlos Correia Leitao
Technical University of Lisbon


  1. By: Lionel Frost; Abdel K. Halabi
    Abstract: Until the last quarter of the twentieth century, non-metropolitan Australian Rules football clubs prospered as volunteer organisations, operating in regions that were protected by distance from clubs in larger, competing leagues. They acted as places that people valued and were important components of social capital in their communities, and in turn, received subsidies from other community groups that reduced operating costs. Clubs appear to have measured success in terms of their ability to attract the talent needed to build a winning team that would boost the prestige of both the club and its local community. The Victorian Football League’s regulations about player payment and mobility gave country football clubs the opportunity to offer attractive terms to League players, and this prevented the game’s most powerful league, from crowding out its rivals. The circumstances that were favourable to country football clubs have changed with the formation of a major league, the Australian Football League. The televising of matches nationwide allowed people in even remote regions to watch AFL games. Economic and demographic decline in country areas, greater mobility and the lure of metropolitan jobs has made it difficult for clubs to retain players. In this challenging economic environment, many country football clubs have been unable to survive in their own right. This paper reports on a survey of administrators of Victorian country football clubs as to their perceptions of what constitutes ‘success’ in this new environment. It provides information about how individual clubs are responding to broad changes that are beyond their control, and offers evidence about the ability of local football clubs to continue to play their traditional role as places of importance and generators of social capital in regional communities.
    Date: 2009–08

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