A comparative analysis of sport and economic success through the example of top- and mid-ranking Hungarian water polo clubs

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Akadémiai Kiadó

The biggest question of professional sports is how to compete successfully in the global economic framework, simultaneously in terms of the sport and in economic terms. As a result, in addition to indicators measuring sports-related effectiveness, the need for an economic analysis of sport has also emerged. Most academic research into the economic aspects of sports are related to the analysis of North American major league sports, as well as to European football. Water polo is also a spectator team sport, yet its economic analysis is almost entirely missing. In this article, we present an economic analysis of the operation of five men’s water polo teams – the top four teams in terms of the sports results and one from the mid-range – competing in the highest-level national championship in Hungary. Our aim is to determine, on the basis of the analysis of the data, the relationship between effectiveness in sports and the economic background of the teams. It can undoubtedly be concluded that, in addition to appropriate professional decisions, it is the economic situation of a club that has a clear impact on their effectiveness; in other words, up to a certain point, the more disposable funds and wider range of assets a sports company has, the more effectively it can prepare and the better results it will have in the various domestic and international championships and tournaments. CIT (corporate income tax benefits, “TAO” in Hungarian) support is fundamentally important in the field of youth sports development. While professional sports in Hungary are built on the development of junior players, there is still no clear link between the successfulness of the adult and the junior teams. The first-division teams of the clubs providing the best junior players are frequently in the mid-range or occasionally among the weakest teams in the national championship. Our research has shown that apart from the fact that some teams are extremely successful in the water polo championship, the outcome of many matches becomes quite predictable. Based on these, the uncertainty of the outcome is compromised, and the championship becomes less exciting and also loses some of its audience.

business aspects in sport, economic success, sport success, water polo championship, predictable outcome