Pay TV vs Free-to-air TV

This week I’m at the 3rd International Mathematics in Sport conference, taking place within view of Old Trafford, home of Manchester United.

Stefen Kesenne gave a fascinating opening talk on pay TV and free-to-air TV, trying to propose a simple model to explain the very cheap or free airing of US major league sports, yet the high subscription fees faced by European sports observers.

It was a fairly basic micro model with a linear demand curve for sports viewers, and advertising revenues a linear function of viewers (hence customers). However, only by adding in the sponsorship element (companies with names on shirts and stadia) could Stefen achieve the result that free-to-air TV might be more profitable than pay-TV. That’s because in this situation sponsors want the maximum audience possible.

I also listened to another fascinating talk by Peter Dawson on managers and the duration of their spells out of jobs. Managerial experience matters but past playing experience doesn’t.

Today I’ll be listening to talks on the Jabulani ball, Poisson models to describe goalscoring in football (soccer) matches (games), the history of ball sports, competitive balance, assessing performance in football matches, amongst other things…


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