Management strategies of non-profit community sport facilities in an era of austerity

Daniel Parnell, Anthony May, Paul Widdop, Ed Cope, Richard Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
191 Downloads (Pure)


Research Question: This qualitative research explores the impact of austerity on community sport facilities across England (United Kingdom), drawing upon resource dependence theory (RDT) embedded within network theory.

Research Methods: In-depth semi-structured interview data were collected from 24 stakeholders related to community sport facilities (n = 12 facility managers, n = 6 regional grant managers, n = 6 national funders both third sector and corporate). The qualitative data were thematically analysed to understand the impact of austerity on how community sport facilities managed their organisations and operations.

Results and Findings: The findings from this research offer insight into the challenges that community sport facilities are encountering which have resulted from austerity, and a shrinking of the funding from the central Government to local public services. Furthermore, different community sport facilities have navigated these challenges to maintain sustainability, essentially through adapting network structure and through income dynamism. In addition, using a network theory approach alongside RDT within a sporting context has allowed us to address issues on how network flow and structure impact sustainability and operations within and between organisations.

Implications: The article offers managerial recommendations for community sport facility managers, practitioners and policy makers who operate in times of fiscal constraint. It recommends that future sport research utilises and applies both RDT and network theory to examine these changes and the subsequent management strategies adopted to overcome the associated challenges of fiscal constraint.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-330
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Sport Management Quarterly
Issue number3
Early online date1 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in European Sport Management Quarterly on 01/10/2018, available online:

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • Austerity
  • community
  • management
  • resource dependence theory
  • sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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