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Game Attendance and Competitive Balance in the National Hockey League

  • Dennis Coates



  • Brad R. Humphreys


    (University of Alberta)

We examine the relationship between attendance, uncertainty of outcome, and team quality in the National Hockey League. Based on results from a reduced form model of attendance at 6054 regular season NHL games from 2005/06 to 2009/10, we find evidence that attendance increases when fans expect the home team to win by a large margin. Attendance increases for home team underdogs, but the extent of that boost declines as the underdog status worsens. An asymmetric relationship exists between expected game outcomes and attendance, suggesting the need for an expanded definition of the Uncertainty of Outcome Hypothesis.

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Paper provided by UMBC Department of Economics in its series UMBC Economics Department Working Papers with number 11-130.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:umb:econwp:11130
Contact details of provider: Postal: UMBC Department of Economics 1000 Hilltop Circle Baltimore MD 21250, USA
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  1. Robert J. Lemke & Matthew Leonard & Kelebogile Tlhokwane, 2010. "Estimating Attendance at Major League Baseball Games for the 2007 Season," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 11(3), pages 316-348, June.
  2. Peel, David A & Thomas, Dennis A, 1992. "The Demand for Football: Some Evidence on Outcome Uncertainty," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 323-31.
  3. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  4. Brad R. Humphreys & Yang Seung Lee, 2010. "Week to Week Attendance and Competitive Balance in the National Football League," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 5(4), pages 280-295, November.
  5. Jeffery Borland, 2003. "Demand for Sport," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 478-502, Winter.
  6. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
  7. Simon Rottenberg, 1956. "The Baseball Players' Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 242.
  8. Andrew S. Zimbalist, 2002. "Competitive Balance in Sports Leagues: An Introduction," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 3(2), pages 111-121, May.
  9. David Forrest & Robert Simmons & Babatunde Buraimo, 2005. "Outcome Uncertainty And The Couch Potato Audience," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(4), pages 641-661, 09.
  10. Amemiya, Takeshi, 1984. "Tobit models: A survey," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 3-61.
  11. Peel, David A & Thomas, Dennis A, 1988. "Outcome Uncertainty and the Demand for Football: An Analysis of Match Attendances in the English Football League," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 35(3), pages 242-49, August.
  12. Brad R. Humphreys, 2002. "Alternative Measures of Competitive Balance in Sports Leagues," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 3(2), pages 133-148, May.
  13. Paul, Rodney J. & Weinbach, Andrew P., 2007. "The uncertainty of outcome and scoring effects on Nielsen ratings for Monday Night Football," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 199-211.
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