From Competitive Balance to Match Attractiveness in Rugby Union

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP09/2008
 
Publication date: 2008
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (University of Stellenbosch)
[protected email address] (University of Stellenbosch)
 
Abstract:

Professional sports leagues aim to provide attractive contests that maximise fan interest. Literature on the demand for professional sport suggests that fans derive utility from identifying with teams and from the quality of contests, which depends on uncertainty of outcome and demonstration of the skills required to excel at the game. Measures of the attractiveness of sports contests should incorporate these two dimensions of quality. This paper proposes measures of the attractiveness of rugby union matches corresponding to Newton’s gravity equation. These measures proxy the extent of uncertainty of outcome by the points margin between the participating teams and demonstration of playing skills by the total number of points scored in a match, respectively. Using hypothetical match scores, the paper shows that the most accurate of the proposed measures uniquely identify degrees of “attractiveness”. A comparison of major rugby leagues for the period 2006 to 2008 suggests that the Guinness Premiership provided the most attractive matches, followed by the Magners League and the Super 14.

 
JEL Classification:

L83

Keywords:

Economics of sport leagues, Rugby union, Competitive balance, Uncertainty of outcomes, Match attractiveness

Download: PDF (218 KB)

Login

(for staff & registered students)



Need a password?
Forgot your password?

Upcoming Seminars

No seminars are currently listed. Please check back soon.
 
More...

BER Weekly

13 September 2021
It was a data-heavy week in SA, with the 2021Q2 real GDP data indicating that the economy had better-than-expected recovery momentum in the first half of the year. While growth remained solid in the second quarter, both the survey and actual data released last week revealed the significant impact that the range of shocks at the start of the third quarter...

Read the full issue
 

Upcoming Seminars

No seminars are currently listed. Please check back soon.
 
More...

BER Weekly

13 September 2021
It was a data-heavy week in SA, with the 2021Q2 real GDP data indicating that the economy had better-than-expected recovery momentum in the first half of the year. While growth remained solid in the second quarter, both the survey and actual data released last week revealed the significant impact that the range of shocks at the start of the third quarter...

Read the full issue