Major League Baseball Attendance: Long-term Analysis Using Factor Models
Although Major League Baseball (MLB) has a long history, most studies of attendance have focused on recent years because important explanatory data, such as ticket prices, are often missing for earlier periods. The present study aims to fill gaps in the data by analyzing individual team attendance records between 1904 and 2012. If important missing variables are determined using common factors that can influence between-teams attendance, the attendance function can be estimated by a panel factor model. Using this approach, our results indicate that the determinants of fans¡¯ attendance decisions have changed over time. In earlier years, winning performance was an important determinant of attendance. However, in recent years, other factors have also influenced attendance. Not only the home team¡¯s winning performance, but also the outcome uncertainty, size and quality of the stadium, and playing styles influence fan attendance in present-day MLB.
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