International Centre for
Sports Studies

Avenue DuPeyrou 1
2000 Neuchâtel
Tel +41 32 718 39 00


Mon. 03 December 2012

Places of interaction: the stadium attendance and social integration

Member of the CIES research team, Roger Besson made a public defence of his thesis in October for a doctorate in social sciences from the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland) and Franche-Comté (France). His work focuses on the modernization of stadiums and on recent developments of the public who attend football matches.

The construction of new infrastructures raises important economic questions in the world of sport. There are clubs, for example, who promote their image among sponsors and develop more profitable services (dressing rooms, VIP rooms, etc.). In addition, more comfortable and safer modern stadiums offer undoubtedly many advantages to the viewer. Described as more friendly places, they stimulate an integrative role between supporters and football players.

A series of surveys of the Swiss club Neuchatel Xamax, which opened new facilities in 2007, however, shows that the balance of social modernization may be more nuanced than first thought. Thus, the construction of a stadium is often accompanied by an increase in ticket prices and a gentrification eviction of certain categories of less affluent people. It also promotes specific modes of attendance (supports clubs, fan clubs, etc..) and that contributes to the distancing of brands that may arise between the fans supporting the same team. Finally, the crowds are closely related to the results and the inauguration of a new stadium does not guarantee better frequentation. A repeated failure of the sports infrastructure whose operation also involves higher operational costs may even eventually become a burden to the club.

More generally, the analysis shows how proposed changes in the role of a place, in terms of social integration, can be a complex exercise that requires different reading levels.

This website uses cookies – limited to technical and analytical cookies – in order to allow your browsing and enhance your experience.

For more information, please see our cookie policy and our privacy notice.

I understand