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Competitive Balance Measures In Sports Leagues: The Effects Of Variation In Season Length

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  • P. Dorian Owen
  • Nicholas King

Abstract

Appropriate measurement of competitive balance is central to the economic analysis of professional sports leagues. We examine the distributional properties of the ratio of standard deviations (RSD) of points percentages, the most widely used measure of competitive balance in the sports economics literature, in comparison with other standard‐deviation‐based measures. Simulation methods are used to evaluate the effects of changes in season length on the distributions of competitive balance measures for different distributions of the strengths of teams in a league. The popular RSD measure performs as expected only in cases of perfect balance; if there is imbalance in team strengths, its distribution is sensitive to changes in season length. It is therefore not recommended for comparisons of competitive balance for different sports leagues with different numbers of teams and/or games played. (JEL L83, D63, C63)

Suggested Citation

  • P. Dorian Owen & Nicholas King, 2015. "Competitive Balance Measures In Sports Leagues: The Effects Of Variation In Season Length," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(1), pages 731-744, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:53:y:2015:i:1:p:731-744
    DOI: 10.1111/ecin.12102
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12102
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    Cited by:

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    2. Young Hoon Lee & Yongdai Kim & Sara Kim, 2016. "A Bias-Corrected Estimator of Competitive Balance in Sports Leagues," Working Papers 1611, Research Institute for Market Economy, Sogang University.
    3. Dorian Owen & Caitlin Owen, 2017. "Simulation Evidence on Herfindahl-Hirschman Indices as Measures of Competitive Balance," Working Papers 1715, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2017.
    4. Fort, Rodney & Maxcy, Joel & Diehl, Mark, 2016. "Uncertainty by regulation: Rottenberg׳s invariance principle," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 454-467.
    5. Budzinski, Oliver & Kunz-Kaltenhäuser, Philipp, 2020. "Promoting or restricting competition? - The 50plus1-rule in German football," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 141, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    6. Dejan Trifunovi? & Vito Pipitone, 0000. "Welfare Maximizing Competitive Balance: the Evidence from Top European Football leagues," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 11113139, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    7. Murat Çiftçi, 2015. "Regional Inequality of Sport Facilities in Turkey," Eurasian Academy Of Sciences Social Sciences Journal, Eurasian Academy Of Sciences, vol. 4(4), pages 49-66, July.
    8. Young Hoon Lee & Yongdai Kim & Sara Kim, 2018. "Unbiased Estimation of Competitive Balance in Sports Leagues with Unbalanced Schedules," Working Papers 1801, Research Institute for Market Economy, Sogang University.
    9. Lee Scyoc & M. Kevin McGee, 2016. "Testing for competitive balance," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 1029-1043, May.
    10. Hayley Jang & Young Hoon Lee & Rodney Fort, 2019. "Winning In Professional Team Sports: Historical Moments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 57(1), pages 103-120, January.
    11. Franziska Prockl & Dirk Semmelroth, 2018. "Perception Versus Reality - Competitive Balance In Major League Soccer From 1996 – 2016," Working Papers Dissertations 36, Paderborn University, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques

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