The Determinants of Competitive Balance in the National Football League (With Andrew M. Larsen and Erin L. Spenner) Forthcoming in  Journal of Sports Economics

Abstract:   This paper examines the competitive balance of the NFL using Gini coefficients and the deviations of the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index. We present upper bounds for both the above measures that are constructed using actual playing schedules.    We model competitive balance as a function of player talent, the incidence of strikes, expansion of the NFL, the introduction of free agency and the salary cap in the NFL using data from the 1970 to 2002 seasons. We find that free agency and salary cap restrictions tend to promote competitive balance while concentration of player talent reduces competitiveness among teams.  Strikes by players and expansion of the NFL to include new teams also affect competitive balance significantly.


The Short Supply of Tall People: Competitive Imbalance and the National Basketball Association (With David Berri, Stacey Brook and Roberto Vicente-Mayoral) Forthcoming in Journal of Economic Issues

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore the level of competitive imbalance in professional sports.  Prior research on the subject has generally focused upon a single sport.  Typically such work examines whether a rule or institution enacted by the league impacted the dispersion of wins within the sport.  The analysis employed herein will take a broader view, examining competitive imbalance across a variety of sports and leagues.  The analysis will suggest that the level of competitive imbalance tends to be specific to the sport being played.  Secondly, this inspection will propose that the Ashort supply of tall people@ is the primary reason why the National Basketball Association (NBA) has persistently offered greater levels of competitive imbalance.


The Willingness to Pay for a New Vikings Stadium under Threat of Relocation or Sale (With John R. Crooker)

Abstract:  The issue of public financing for a professional sports team is one that has seen vigorous debate in recent months in the state of Minnesota.  Given the proposed sale of the Vikings, this study offers the opportunity to examine the willingness to pay (WTP) for a stadium in the context of a credible threat to team relocation.  This study utilizes contingent valuation methodology (CVM) to analyze Minnesotan’s WTP for a new stadium.  However we improve upon the methodology of (Johnson, Groothius and Whitehead, 2001) by using additional explanatory variables.  We find that economic variables such as the bid amount, explicit and implicit cost associated with watching games and public good aspects of the team significantly impact the respondents WTP.  In addition we also find that the threat of relocation, the perceived increase in civic pride from a new stadium and the perceived increase of the team’s chances of winning the Superbowl are also significant. 


Sports Leagues and Parity: When League Parity Generates Fan Enthusiasm (With John R. Crooker, under review at Journal of Sports Economics)

Abstract: Our goal in this paper is to address the theoretical ramifications of parity driving fan interest on optimal league management.  We ask the question: “Is the best interest of the league served by allowing each team to maximize their own profits or could a league planner do better?”  Another question investigated is the effect of heterogeneous local market sizes of each team on league parity.  Past research has suggested that large market teams’ winning more frequently is efficient and no intervention is desirable.  We demonstrate that if parity is an important determinant of fan interest, a league planner can do better (i.e., provide a pareto improvement).