Proceedings of the 5 th ESEA Conference
Competitive Balance and Attention Level Effects: Theoretical Considerations and Preliminary Evidence
We try to better understand possible reasons for deviations between statistically-measured competitive balance (CB) and perceived CB. Moreover, we suggest answers to the following questions: are there specific dimensions of CB that are perceived to be significantly less balanced in the Danish Superligaen compared to the other two leagues? Are there objective measures that “confirm” the fans’ perception or does OCB in general deviate from PCB?
competitive balance, sports economics, behavioural economics, mid-term outcome uncertainty, fan perception
Following the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis (UOH) introduced by Rottenberg with his seminal work in 1956, competitive balance (CB) represents an important element of attractiveness of professional sports leagues. However, many studies correlating measures of competitive balance and success indicators such as attendance or viewer figures have not been successful in establishing clear evidence for the relevance of UOH in European professional football.
For instance, studies using the Theil (1967)-measure to analyse the impact of short-term (game) uncertainty on stadium attendance either found a non-significant (Benz, Brandes & Franck 2009) or negative (Buraimo & Simmons 2008) effect suggesting that some caution is required in the use of the UOH (Szymanski 2006). For instance, the negative effect may be explained with fans preferring to see either a favourite home team with the chance to win by clear margin (Forrest et al. 2005; Coates & Humphreys 2010) or a favourite away team which offers the chance to see an upset (Coates, Humphreys & Zhou 2014) or a strong...
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