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Optimal Competitive Balance in Single-Game Ticket Sports Leagues


  • Rodney Fort

    () (Sport Management, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA)

  • James Quirk

    (Division of Humanities and Social Science, California Institute of Technology (Retired), Pasadena, USA)


The authors extend the theory of optimal competitive balance to leagues where single-game ticket sales dominate revenues. Whether a planner that maximizes the sum of fan and owner surpluses prefers more balance or less in such a league depends on the relative magnitude of marginal consumers' surpluses with respect to talent in larger and smaller revenue markets. This relationship is much more complex than previous cases in the literature. Ultimately, then, the determination of whether more balance is preferred to less in any particular sports league requires careful and thorough empirical investigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodney Fort & James Quirk, 2010. "Optimal Competitive Balance in Single-Game Ticket Sports Leagues," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 11(6), pages 589-601, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:11:y:2010:i:6:p:589-601

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    Cited by:

    1. Lee Scyoc & M. Kevin McGee, 2016. "Testing for competitive balance," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 1029-1043, May.
    2. Helmut Dietl & Egon Franck & Markus Lang & Alexander Rathke, 2010. "Organizational Differences between U.S. Major Leagues and European Leagues: Implications for Salary Caps," Working Papers 0122, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
    3. Dorian Owen, 2014. "Measurement of competitive balance and uncertainty of outcome," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football, chapter 3, pages 41-59 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Madden, Paul, 2012. "Fan welfare maximization as a club objective in a professional sports league," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 560-578.
    5. 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.
    6. repec:qut:auncer:2013_04 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. John Vrooman, 2013. "Two to tango: optimum competitive balance in professional sports leagues," Chapters,in: The Econometrics of Sport, chapter 1, pages 3-34 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Caruso, Raul & Addesa, Francesco & Di Domizio, Marco, 2016. "The Determinants Of The TV Demand Of Soccer: Empirical Evidence On Italian Serie A For The Period 2008-2015," MPRA Paper 70189, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    Sports Leagues; Competitive Balance; Optimality;


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