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“If You Can’t Win, Why Should I Buy a Ticket?”: Hope, Fan Welfare, and Competitive Balance


  • Norm O’Reilly

    () (Laurentian University)

  • Alan Kaplan

    (Ryerson University)

  • Ryan Rahinel

    (Laurentian University)

  • John Nadeau

    (Nipissing University)


Competitive balance is highly desired in professional sports leagues, yet measurement of the concept is not well established. The definition of firm/team goals in a professional sports league and its connection with competitive balance has typically been assumed rather than studied. Using fan welfare as the goal of the firm, the current research attempts to link competitive balance with fan welfare through the use of what is termed the “hope” construct. A market survey of 367 individuals in a Major League Baseball market empirically supports the use of the hope construct in competitive balance. Suggestions for future research are presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Norm O’Reilly & Alan Kaplan & Ryan Rahinel & John Nadeau, 2008. "“If You Can’t Win, Why Should I Buy a Ticket?”: Hope, Fan Welfare, and Competitive Balance," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 3(2), pages 106-118, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:3:y:2008:i:2:p:106-118

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carlino, Gerald & Coulson, N. Edward, 2004. "Compensating differentials and the social benefits of the NFL," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 25-50, July.
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    More about this item


    sport finance; competitive balance; parity; Major League Baseball; professional sport; hope; shareholder wealth; fan welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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