Although considerable weight has been placed on the economist's advice in many areas of public policy, it is suggested that this has not been the case in the pricing of sport and leisure facilities and services. This paper provides an overview of the extent to which economic analysis can be used in the pricing of publicly funded sport and leisure facilities and services. It is reasoned that such facilities and services display both public-good attributes and positive externalities. As such, market pricing is an inappropriate allocation mechanism. Some problems associated with the practical application of economic models to determine user fees in publicly owned sport and leisure facilities are highlighted. An overview of some of the current issues in public facility management and allocation is offered, along with suggestions for further research.
Tim Berrett, Trevor Slack, and Dave Whitson are with the Department of Physical Education and Sport Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2H9.