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Japanese Professional Soccer Attendance and the Effects of Regions, Competitive Balance, and Rival Franchises


  • Nicholas M. Watanabe

    () (University of Missouri)


While much of the focus on professional sport is divided between North America and Europe, there is a growing need to analyze sport leagues and organizations outside of these two regions. In this paper, the J-League, Japan’s top flight professional soccer league, is the focus of examination through a seasonal attendance model which seeks to test the importance of region and competitive balance in determining demand for attendance. The results of this model indicate that fans are sensitive to competitive balance, confirming the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis. Furthermore, this paper attempts to look at the differences which occur in the demand for sport from one regional type to another.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas M. Watanabe, 2012. "Japanese Professional Soccer Attendance and the Effects of Regions, Competitive Balance, and Rival Franchises," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 7(4), pages 309-323, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:7:y:2012:i:4:p:309-323

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Boscá, José E. & Liern, Vicente & Martínez, Aurelio & Sala, Ramøn, 2009. "Increasing offensive or defensive efficiency? An analysis of Italian and Spanish football," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 63-78, February.
    2. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Assessment: The Economics of Sport," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 467-477, Winter.
    3. Van Calster Ben & Smits Tim & Van Huffel Sabine, 2008. "The Curse of Scoreless Draws in Soccer: The Relationship with a Team's Offensive, Defensive, and Overall Performance," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, January.
    4. Peter Macmillan & Ian Smith, 2007. "Explaining International Soccer Rankings," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 8(2), pages 202-213, May.
    5. Robert Houston & Dennis Wilson, 2002. "Income, leisure and proficiency: an economic study of football performance," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(14), pages 939-943.
    6. Lawrence M. Kahn, 2000. "The Sports Business as a Labor Market Laboratory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 75-94, Summer.
    7. Robert Hoffmann & Lee Chew Ging & Bala Ramasamy, 2002. "The Socio-Economic Determinants of International Soccer Performance," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 5, pages 253-272, November.
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    More about this item


    competitive balance; Japan; J-League; uncertainty of outcome; attendance; sport; region;

    JEL classification:

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


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