Winning, Losing and Competitive Balance
Edited by Plácido Rodríguez, Stefan Kesenne and Brad R. Humphreys
Chapter 7: The competitiveness of football at the national-team level
Competitive balance is one of the central topics in sports economics. Seminal papers indicate that higher levels of competitiveness would drive interest of fans, boosting broadcast and tickets demand, and consequently increasing revenues for clubs and leagues. A broad literature is found inspecting competitive balance in professional football leagues, but no previous works have examined this matter at national-team level. This chapter fills this gap, observing variations of competitiveness over the history. The methods comprise two steps: a descriptive analysis of goals scored in friendly and official tournaments matches from 1900 to 2018; and an ordinary least squares (OLS) model inspecting the determinants of competitiveness in the last six Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cups. The results show evidences that the football at national-team level is becoming more competitive over time, reflected by smaller differences of goals scored and more uncertainty in matches of recent FIFA World Cups.
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