Understanding public acceptance of elite sport policy in Japan: a structural equation modelling approach

Hiroaki Funahashi*, Veerle De Bosscher, Yoshiyuki Mano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Research question: Considering the current upward trend of public investment in elite sport, the importance of the public's acceptance cannot be ignored; however, little has been reported on the public's attitude towards elite sport policy. The present study seeks to answer the following research question: What are the significant socio-psychological determinants that influence public acceptance of the promotion of Japan's elite sport policy? Research methods: Data were collected from 921 Japanese respondents by means of a Internet-based survey. Five socio-psychological constructs were analysed in order to identify their impact on public acceptance of elite sport policy: personal benefit, social benefit, risk, trust, and athletes as role models. Structural equation modelling was used to test the causal model consisting of 10 hypotheses. Results and findings: Public acceptance is positively determined by their perception of personal/social benefits and negatively by perceived risks. These constructs are further determined by the public's trust in elite sport policy actors and athlete role model perception. Implications: The present study deepens the discussion on, ‘How a nation can increase the public acceptance of elite sport policy?’ and found theoretical and methodological approaches to fill the research gap. To enhance public acceptance of elite sport policy, policy-makers should focus on the social benefits and values that stem from promoting the policy and variable measures. The development of athletes who act as role models is a crucial requirement of the current Japanese elite sport system, as this construct has the strongest total effect on public acceptance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-504
Number of pages27
JournalEuropean Sport Management Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Aug 8


  • athlete role model
  • elite sport policy
  • public acceptance
  • social benefit
  • structural equation modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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