When the future of Chinese soccer is at stake

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of Chinese youth’s attention to and involvement with Chinese soccer and its professional league, the Chinese Super League (CSL), on their level of satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach A survey study was employed to test the hypotheses. Research participants (n=948) were students from five major universities that represented each of the five main geographic regions of China. Data were randomly assigned into two halves: one half for CFA (n=474) and the other half for structural equation modeling (SEM) (n=474). Mplus 7.0 was used to conduct both the CFA and SEM. Findings The findings of this study indicated an overall lack of attention to and involvement with Chinese soccer and CSL among Chinese youths. Discussions have been presented on the causes of the lack of youth passion for Chinese soccer and suggestions have been articulated to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of policy formulation, business operation and marketing strategy. Originality/value The present study built on the extant sport management literature, demonstrated the complexity of consumers’ cognition and conation in the professional soccer setting, and revealed counter-intuitive relationship between attitudinal traits and behavioral patterns, which in turn provided unique insights for Chinese professional soccer marketers, managers and administrators.

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International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship

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