Despite the acknowledged importance of investigating the link between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate financial performance (CFP) within a single industry, very few studies have examined this relationship in the context of the sport industry. Using charitable giving data as a proxy of CSR, this study investigated if CSR would affect CFP of professional sport teams within the four major U.S. leagues. Although the positive CSR-CFP relationship was hypothesized based on instrumental stakeholder theory, CSR was found to have non-positive effects on CFP. These results are still notable since they may highlight the importance of the connectedness between CSR and team operations and the awareness of CSR activity among stakeholders in leveraging CSR benefits. Overall, through the use of improved methodology, the current study furthers the understanding of the CSR-CFP relationship among the U.S. professional teams.
Inoue is with the Dept. of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN. Kent and Lee are with the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.