A Quality of Play Model of a Professional Sports League
Assuming that consumers value both the absolute and relative quality of play, I compare the choice of ticket prices, team qualities, and number of games played in a noncooperative outcome versus that chosen by a social planner. I find that the nature of consumer preferences regarding the quality of play determines whether the demand for talented players are strategic complements or substitutes. A strong preference by fans for a superior team makes players strategic substitutes while a concern for a high quality of play and competitive balance make players strategic complements. Moreover, when fans only value the relative quality of play, there is an overemployment of talented players in the noncooperative outcome versus the socially optimal outcome; when they only value the absolute quality of play then there is an underemployment of talented players in the noncooperative outcome.(JEL L1,L2,L4,L83)
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