Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Michael Barry, James Skinner and Terry Engelberg
Chapter 16: Similarities and differences between competitive balance and uncertainty of outcome: a simple comparison of recent history in the NBA and NFL
The terms competitive balance and uncertainty of outcome are often used interchangeably, but their methods of calculation are distinct. Competitive balance is typically measured ex post, while uncertainty of outcome is measured ex ante. We compare the differences and similarities in these measures by using recent data on the NBA and NFL. The two measures are found to be closely related in the NBA, but are quite different in the NFL. While competitive balance was shown to worsen in the NFL, uncertainty of outcome has remained generally unchanged. This illustrates the importance of understanding which measure consumers actually use when making decisions.
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