Research Handbook of Employment Relations in Sport
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Research Handbook of Employment Relations in Sport

Edited by Michael Barry, James Skinner and Terry Engelberg

Employment relations, much discussed in other industries, has often been neglected in professional sports despite its unique characteristics. The book aims to explore in detail the unique nature of the employment relationship in professional sports and the sport industry.
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Chapter 16: Similarities and differences between competitive balance and uncertainty of outcome: a simple comparison of recent history in the NBA and NFL

Rodney Paul and Andrew Weinbach


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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