NASSM 2011 Conference

Greetings from London, Ontario in Canada.  I am attending the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) conference along with co-blogger Brian Soebbing of the University of Alberta.  There has been a lot of talk of competitive balance and uncertainty of outcome in many of the talks, including one given by Brian, myself, and Dr. Humphreys (another one of the IJSF bloggers) about the effects of competitive balance on MLB attendance.  It was good to see a wide focus of sport management talks, and how well sport finance and sports economics were represented.  In the final talk given during the Earle Ziegler award ceremony, there was mention of the seminal work of Simon Rottenberg (1956), as well citation of Humphreys’ (2002) work on competitive balance.

In fact, there were so many talks that directly related back to Rottenberg’s 1956 piece, that some of us noted that they could have formed one or two symposiums focused just on the work of Rottenberg.  I think this is telling of the power of the Uncertainty of Outcome Hypothesis (UOH) which was first noted by Rottenberg (1956) and was also discussed by Neale (1964), as well as the Invariance Principle which can also be found in Rottenberg’s seminal work.

Next up will be the Western Economic Association International conference at the end of June 2011, where there will be many sessions focused on sports economics.


On a side note, I’ll be traveling to China, and will try to blog while I am there visiting various sport sites and organizations in Beijing.  I’m hoping to take some nice pictures and give an interesting perspective of sport finance as it relates to China.


2 Responses to NASSM 2011 Conference

  1. So what was the final thought on the effect of competitive balance on MLB attendance?

    • nickwatanabe says:

      Clark, how is New York treating you?

      As for competitive balance, the research that was presented by Brian Soebbing, Brad Humphreys and myself found that three different definitions of competitive balance were significant in determining attendance in MLB. The three definitions are:
      1. Dispersion of Wins (How wins are distributed among teams in the regular season.
      2. Playoff Appearances (How well distributed playoff appearances over a set number of years is distributed among teams in a league. If the same team makes it all the time, we would say there is imbalance).
      3. Reordering of Rankings (How teams re-rank from one year to the next).

      All three of these measures showed results in our model that hinted that better competitive balance is beneficial for MLB attendance, as stated in the Blue Ribbon Panel Report commissioned by MLB several years ago.

      As for other research into competitive balance, there was another presentation that considered some of the issues in measurement (Leagues that have ties vs league that do not).

      In all, I think there is still an interesting debate going on still about the effect of uncertainty of outcome as well as competitive balance. But it was a highly focused upon topic among participants, and shows how important it is.

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