nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2018‒07‒09
four papers chosen by
Humberto Barreto
DePauw University

  1. A managerial approach to corporate sports hospitality: The case of Belgian football By BALLIAUW, Matteo; VERLINDEN, Thomas; DE CROOCQ, Lisa; FOBE, Aline; VAN DEN SPIEGEL, Tomas
  2. Building Nations Through Shared Experiences: Evidence from African Football By Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; Ruben Durante; Filipe R. Campante
  3. Pre- and within-season attendance forecasting in Major League Baseball: A random forest approach By Steffen Q. Mueller
  4. Unbiased Estimation of Competitive Balance in Sports Leagues with Unbalanced Schedules By Young Hoon Lee; Yongdai Kim; Sara Kim

  1. By: BALLIAUW, Matteo; VERLINDEN, Thomas; DE CROOCQ, Lisa; FOBE, Aline; VAN DEN SPIEGEL, Tomas
    Abstract: Corporate Sports Hospitality (CSH) is a relationship marketing tool whereby customers and other stakeholders are invited by a company buying CSH from a club to attend a sports game. The CSH product involves premium seating and optional services such as catering. Little academic research about the CSH industry has been performed in the past. Moreover, this industry has been perceived to be in decline, especially in times of economic downturn when companies need to justify every cost expenditure. This paper quantifies the added value of CSH. A case study from the highest division in Belgian football (soccer) shows that, although the market is smaller than in the American major sports leagues, CSH returns account for an important share of club revenues. Through Porter’s Five Forces framework, we show that a club experiences the strongest competitive impact from substitutes and other clubs in the league. Since CSH is often managed on an ad-hoc base and the literature offers no formal CSH management process for companies and clubs, information is gathered to build such an effective process. It allows both clubs as well as CSH buying companies to define their objectives and measure their performance in a quantitative way through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Not only return on investment, but also return on other objectives matters. We moreover argue that measuring the output through these KPIs and improving the process according to feedback loops are crucial for successful CSH. To improve CSH attractiveness, sufficient attention should be given to technological and managerial innovations.
    Keywords: Luxury seating, Venue revenues, Management process, Sports marketing
    Date: 2018–06
  2. By: Emilio Depetris-Chauvin; Ruben Durante; Filipe R. Campante
    Abstract: We examine whether shared collective experiences can help build a national identity, by looking at the impact of national football teams’ victories in sub- Saharan Africa. Combining individual survey data with information on official matches played between 2000 and 2015, we find that individuals interviewed in the days after a victory of their country’s national team are less likely to identify with their ethnic group than with the country as a whole and more likely to trust people of other ethnicities than those interviewed just before. The effect is sizable and robust and is not explained by generic euphoria or optimism. Crucially, we find that national victories not only affect attitudes but also reduce violence: using plausibly exogenous variation from close qualifications to the African Cup of Nations, we find that countries that (barely) qualified experience significantly less conflict in the following six months than countries that (barely) did not. Our findings indicate that, even when divisions are deeply rooted, shared experiences can work as an effective nation-building tool, bridge cleavages, and have a tangible effect on violence.
    JEL: O12
    Date: 2018–05
  3. By: Steffen Q. Mueller (Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg)
    Abstract: This study explores the forecasting of Major League Baseball game ticket sales and identifies important attendance predictors by means of random forests that are grown from classification and regression trees (CART) and conditional inference trees. Unlike previous studies that predict sport demand, I consider different forecasting horizons and only use information that is publicly accessible in advance of a game or season. Models are trained using data from 2013 to 2014 to make predictions for the 2015 regular season. The static within-season approach is complemented by a dynamic month-ahead forecasting strategy. Out-of-sample performance is evaluated for individual teams and tested against least-squares regression and a naive lagged attendance forecast. My empirical results show high variation in team-specific prediction accuracy with respect to both models and forecasting horizons. Linear and tree-ensemble models, on average, do not vary substantially in predictive accuracy; however, OLS regression fails to account for various team-specific peculiarities.
    Keywords: Attendance, Major League Baseball, Random forest, Conditional forest, Sport demand, Sports forecasting, Ticket sales, Variable importance
    JEL: C44 C53
    Date: 2018–06–27
  4. By: Young Hoon Lee (Department of Economics, Sogang University, Seoul); Yongdai Kim (Department of Statistics, Seoul National University); Sara Kim (Department of Statistics, Seoul National University)
    Abstract: Many empirical studies on competitive balance (CB) use the ratio of the actual standard deviation to the idealized standard deviation of win percentages (RSD). This paper suggests that empirical studies that use RSD to compare CB among different leagues are invalid, but that RSD may be used for time-series analysis on CB in a league if there are no changes in season length. When schedules are unbalanced and/or include interleague games, the final winning percentage is a biased estimator of the true win probability. This paper takes a mathematical statistical approach to derive an unbiased estimator of within-season CB that can be applied to not only balanced but also unbalanced schedules. Simulations and empirical applications are also presented.
    Keywords: Competitive Balance, Unbalanced Schedule, Unbiased Estimation
    Date: 2018

This nep-spo issue is ©2018 by Humberto Barreto. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.