Winning, Losing and Competitive Balance
Edited by Plácido Rodríguez, Stefan Kesenne and Brad R. Humphreys
Chapter 6: A highly disaggregated look at competitive balance
The nature of competitive balance is that it is commonly based on aggregated data – season-long measures for win percentages and the like, and multiple-season-based measures when checking for the absence of long-term domination. Yet fans make decisions, often, on a game-by-game basis. In this chapter we look at the game-by-game level, and the turnstile-by-turnstile level. Furthermore, research has suggested in recent years that fans in the stadium value a greater likelihood that the home team wins to an evenly balanced contest, in contrast to fans watching on television. We consider the price each entrant paid to enter Preston North End games, and the number of these entrants, over two seasons, 1955–56, and 1991–92. Initial results suggest that fans do prefer to see the home team win, prefer to see superstars play and do not value particularly highly competitive balance over longer time horizons (season and multi-season).
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