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Explaining Game-to-Game Ticket Sales for Major League Baseball Games Over Time


  • Elise M. Beckman
  • Wenqiang Cai
  • Rebecca M. Esrock
  • Robert J. Lemke


Using data from more than 10,000 games from 1985 through 2009, the authors estimate the effect various factors have on attendance at Major League Baseball (MLB) games. As previously found in the literature, interleague and interleague rivalry contests are associated with higher attendances, but this relationship has been weakening over time. Contrary to some of the literature, the authors find that the likelihood the home team will win the contest is inconsistently estimated over time, lending little support for the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis. Generally the effect on ticket sales from many potential factors has generally been weakening over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Elise M. Beckman & Wenqiang Cai & Rebecca M. Esrock & Robert J. Lemke, 2012. "Explaining Game-to-Game Ticket Sales for Major League Baseball Games Over Time," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 13(5), pages 536-553, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:13:y:2012:i:5:p:536-553

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jeffery Borland, 2003. "Demand for Sport," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 478-502, Winter.
    2. Buraimo, Babatunde & Simmons, Rob, 2009. "A tale of two audiences: Spectators, television viewers and outcome uncertainty in Spanish football," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 326-338, July.
    3. Yamamura, Eiji & Shin, Inyong, 2008. "The influence of a leader and social interaction on attendance: The case of the Japanese professional baseball league, 1952-2003," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1412-1426, August.
    4. Dennis Coates & Brad R. Humphreys, 2007. "Ticket Prices, Concessions and Attendance at Professional Sporting Events," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 2(3), pages 161-170, August.
    5. Christopher M. Clapp & Jahn K. Hakes, 2005. "How Long a Honeymoon? The Effect of New Stadiums on Attendance in Major League Baseball," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 6(3), pages 237-263, August.
    6. David J. Berri & Martin B. Schmidt, 2006. "On the Road With the National Basketball Association's Superstar Externality," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 7(4), pages 347-358, November.
    7. Eiji Yamamura & Inyong Shin, 2009. "Convergence, clustering and their effects on attendance in the Japan Professional Baseball League," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(25), pages 3257-3265.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dennis Coates & Brad R. Humphreys & Li Zhou, 2014. "Reference-Dependent Preferences, Loss Aversion, And Live Game Attendance," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(3), pages 959-973, July.
    2. Sung, Hojun & Mills, Brian M. & Tainsky, Scott, 2017. "From schadenfreude to mitfreude? Estimating viewership loss and rivalrous relationships in otherwise neutral markets," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 159-169.
    3. Budzinski, Oliver & Feddersen, Arne, 2015. "Grundlagen der Sportnachfrage: Theorie und Empirie der Einflussfaktoren auf die Zuschauernachfrage," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 94, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    4. Stephan Lenor & Liam J. A. Lenten & Jordi McKenzie, 2016. "Rivalry Effects and Unbalanced Schedule Optimisation in the Australian Football League," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 49(1), pages 43-69, August.
    5. Coates, Dennis & Humphreys, Brad & Zhou, Li, 2012. "Outcome Uncertainty, Reference-Dependent Preferences and Live Game Attendance," Working Papers 2012-7, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    6. Pascal Courty & Jeffrey Cisyk, 2014. "Do Fans Care about Compliance to Doping Regulations in Sports? The Impact of PED Suspension in Baseball," Department Discussion Papers 1407, Department of Economics, University of Victoria.
    7. Wayne DeSarbo & Heungsun Hwang & Ashley Stadler Blank & Eelco Kappe, 2015. "Constrained Stochastic Extended Redundancy Analysis," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 516-534, June.


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