An empirical assessment of the influence of digital transformation on sports corporate sustainability

PLoS One. 2024 Apr 18;19(4):e0297659. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0297659. eCollection 2024.


The trend of digital transformation fosters enterprise change, helps cultivate enterprises' own competitive advantages and is crucial to the advancement of sports enterprises' sustainable development in the framework of the emerging digital economy as a national strategy. However, there have been few empirical studies on the microlevel of digital transformation and its impact on the sustainability of sports organizations. Therefore, the sustainable growth dynamic model is used to construct indicators of corporate sustainability by referencing 48 sports corporations listed on Shanghai and Shenzhen A-shares markets and the New Third Board in China from 2012 to 2021. The intrinsic relationship between digital transformation and the sustainable development of sports enterprises and the underlying mechanism of action are explored by constructing a panel fixed effects model, a chain mediating effects model, and a panel threshold model. The most important contribution is as follows: To provide a useful reference for analyzing enterprise digital transformation, a more complete indicator indicating the extent of corporate digital transformation is built. The micro viewpoint broadens our awareness of sustainable development in sports organizations and deepens our understanding of the interaction model between sustainable development and enterprise digital transformation. This study provides methodical evidence and insights for an accurate understanding of digital transformation for sustainable enterprise development, looking into the "black box" of the mechanism between digital transformation and sustainable business development. The results show that digital transformation significantly aids sports enterprises in their pursuit of long-term sustainability. Heterogeneity tests demonstrate the pivotal role of digital transformation in advancing the sustained growth of sports firms and high-tech sports enterprises situated in the eastern region of China. Regarding transmission mechanisms, the chain mediating effect of enterprises' digital transformation on improved technological innovation and TFP, which in turn promote long-term business growth, has yet to be validated. Further examination exposes that within the context of the correlation between digital transformation and the sustainability of corporations, there is a single threshold effect based on financing restrictions and operational costs and a double threshold effect based on operational efficiency.

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Commerce*
  • Empirical Research
  • Hydrolases*
  • Organizations


  • Hydrolases

Grants and funding

"(1)This research was funded by the Fujian Social Science Planning Project (FJ2022C018) (2) Humanities and Social Science Research Projects of the Ministry of Education (21YJC890042) (3) Cangzhou City Social Science Development Research Project (2023247) (4) Fujian Social Science Fund Project (FJ2021C070)".