Three models, one goal: Assessing financial vulnerability in New Zealand amateur sports clubs

Carolyn J. Cordery, Dalice Sim, Rachel F. Baskerville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Financial vulnerability is a critical issue for nonprofit sports clubs due to clubs’ increasing costs and impediments to generating sufficient income. The first objective of this study is to derive a conceptual understanding of financial vulnerability for sports clubs by assessing three financial vulnerability models, two ofwhich have previously been applied in the nonprofit sector generally. Two models are based on revenue patterns and expenditure, and the third is based on movements in Net Assets over four years. A second objective is to identify determinants offinancial vulnerability within amateur sports clubs, focusing specifically on golf and football. The data to test these models were derived from the financial reports of 227 amateur
sports clubs in New Zealand (98 football and 129 golf clubs). Each of the three models results in different predictive variables and has different explanatory strengths. For example, football clubs that were financially vulnerable under Model 1: Program Expenditure had declining revenues from members and trading, as well as high administration costs. Conversely, declining reserves are predictive in financially vulnerable golf clubs using Model 2: Net Assets. Model 3: Net Earnings was generalizable to both football and golf clubs. The explanatory variables were different between these sports, due to their different asset base and propensity to employ paid staff. The common variables those with oversight responsibilities should monitor against financial vulnerability are: an undue reliance on external, rather than member-based revenue, increasing debt, and excessive expenditure. Further research could extend this model to other sports and other jurisdictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-199
Number of pages24
JournalSport Management Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • amateur sports
  • financial vulnerability
  • finances


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