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Tilting the Playing Field (Why a sports league planner would choose less, not more, competitive balance): The case of English Football

Author

Listed:
  • Stefan Szymanski

    () (Tanaka Business School, Imperial College)

  • Stephanie Leach

    () (Tanaka Business School, Imperial College)

Abstract

It has traditionally been argued that the organizer of a sports league would prefer more competitive balance to the level that emerges in a noncooperative equilibrium. This argument has been used to justify restraints on competition between teams, which also tend to raise profits at the expense of players and consumers. This paper shows that in theory a planner would prefer less, not more, competitive balance. The paper uses data from the second tier of professional English league football to show just how unbalanced a league planner would choose.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Szymanski & Stephanie Leach, 2006. "Tilting the Playing Field (Why a sports league planner would choose less, not more, competitive balance): The case of English Football," Working Papers 0619, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:spe:wpaper:0619
    as

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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/spe/SzymanskiLeach_Tilting.pdf
    File Function: Original version completed January 2005
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Martin B. Schmidt & David J. Berri, 2001. "Competitive Balance and Attendance," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 2(2), pages 145-167, May.
    2. Roger G. Noll, 2002. "The Economics of Promotion and Relegation in Sports Leagues," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 3(2), pages 169-203, May.
    3. Stefan Szymanski & Stefan KÈsenne, 2004. "Competitive balance and gate revenue sharing in team sports," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 165-177, March.
    4. Stefan KÉsenne, 2004. "Competitive Balance and Revenue Sharing," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 5(2), pages 206-212, May.
    5. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Economic Design of Sporting Contests," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1137-1187, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Roger G. Noll, 2007. "Broadcasting And Team Sports," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(3), pages 400-421, July.
    2. Budzinski, Oliver & Pawlowski, Tim, 2014. "The behavioural economics of competitive balance: Implications for league policy and championship management," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 89, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    competitive balance; sports leagues; football; soccer;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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