New Horizons in the Economics of Sport series
Edited by Richard Pomfret and John K. Wilson
Chapter 5: The relationship between crowd attendance and competitive balance – evidence from the SANFL, 1920–1983
In professional team sports, a variety of labour market and revenue sharing arrangements are imposed in order to maintain competitive balance. The efficacy of these measures is rarely challenged, though there is little doubt that they stifle innovation among teams, potentially deter clubs from investing in young talent, and reduce the surplus for players, both in wages received and non-pecuniary benefits such as where they live. While competitive balance may benefit teams who are more certain to maintain their market power, the stated goal is usually centred on maintaining fan interest and on getting people through the gates. This chapter uses data from the SANFL – an established and highly popular Australian football competition during the twentieth century – to assess the impact of competitive balance on crowd attendance for both minor round and major round games.
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