The Economics of Competitive Sports
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The Economics of Competitive Sports

Edited by Plácido Rodríguez, Stefan Késenne and Ruud Koning

The essence of any sports contest is competition. The very unpredictability of a sporting outcome distinguishes it from, say, an opera performance. This volume presents a state of the art overview of the economics of competitive sport along two main themes. In the first part, the discussion centers on the organization of sports and competition. The second part deals with the competitive balance, rewards and outcomes of the actual contests.
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Chapter 7: Live football demand

Ruud Koning and Jeroen Achterhof


Live attendance at football games in the Netherlands is higher than attendance at any other sport. In this chapter we study the determinants of live attendance at football games. In particular, we focus on the effect of a variable that measures match significance. A match between two teams can be very contentious, independent of the relevance of the match for the top of the final ranking. However, a particular match may be highly significant for one of the teams if that team could, say, win the title if it were to win that particular game. Both variables are related to competitive balance, a feature of sports that is assumed to yield utility to fans. In fact, the relevance of maintaining some level of balance in competition has been underlined recently in a report by the European Commission, see KEA Economics Affairs and Centre de Droit et Economie du Sport (2013). In our empirical analysis, we take the maximum size of live attendance (due to the maximum capacity of the stadium) into account, and estimate marginal effects of the variables in a tobit model. To assess whether determinants of live attendance vary by level, we estimate the same specification both for the highest level of football in the Netherlands (Eredivisie) and for the second-tier level (Jupiler League).

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