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The purpose of this article is to analyze the effect of different ways of organizing sports leagues on team effort. Double A minor league baseball in the United States is organized either as geographical leagues or as split season leagues. The evidence presented in this article suggests that teams in geographical leagues reduce their effort for longer periods of time (up to twice as long) than their counterparts in split season leagues. However, more teams give up trying to catch the leader in split season leagues than in geographical leagues. In fact, up to one third of teams in the split season league give up whereas no teams give up in the geographical league. This information will be of use to owners, managers, and coaches of sports teams because they will be able to identify periods of time when extra incentives to win may be required.
Medcalfe is Director of Business Programs, Augusta and Assistant Professor of Business Administration, Brenau University, Martinez, GA 30907.