Organized youth sport is purposeful sport participation integrating a systematic schedule, directed by adults, and requiring substantial commitment (Kjønniksen, Anderssen, & Wold, 2009). Club sport enables competitive experience through team membership, promoting personal development, healthy behavior, and elite performances.
Organized youth sport’s emerging challenge is to attract and retain membership that is well aligned with their club’s and coach’s philosophy, thereby maximizing the pleasure in, and length of their participation. Attrition remains a persistent challenge reflecting the internal failings of sports clubs (Jakobsson, Lundvall, Redelius, & Engström, 2012).
Without a clearly articulated market offering, a club’s purpose is vague, and it fails to attract and retain the desired membership. Through the use of a qualitative methodology this thesis examines the youth club market space to better understand club types and consumer expectations. Emergent themes suggest the need for improved strategic club-athlete alignment in order to enhance the experience for stakeholders.