Professional Teams as Leverageable Assets: Strategic Creation of Community Value

Emily Sparvero, Laurence Chalip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Professional sport teams receive support from their host cities in the form of public subsidies, financial incentives, and public services. Public support derives from the expectation that a team will render economic and social benefits to the community. Claims of economic benefits associated with a team have been widely discredited, and claims about non-economic benefits are merely anecdotal. In order for cities to reap benefits from hosting a team, team and public administrators must shift their focus from impact to leverage. Three interrelated realms of leveraging opportunity can be identified: economic development, place marketing, and social welfare. Strategic action formulated and implemented pursuant to desired benefits can render gains that would otherwise not be obtained. Leveraging can serve economic development by stabilising the workforce, enhancing the tax base, and fostering area redevelopment. Leveraging enables the team to be built into city branding, which can be complemented by specific tactics designed to attract business and tourists, and to boost community self-esteem. Leveraging can also enable the team to support community-building efforts, and to ameliorate social issues. Further work is needed to explore factors that facilitate and that inhibit leverage of sport teams, and to evaluate leveraging strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalSport Management Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2007


  • economic development
  • place marketing
  • professional sport
  • sport policy
  • stadiums
  • strategic leverage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Marketing


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