This paper outlines the centrality of market structures in positioning Sport Management and in driving the institutional boundaries that guide most research in the field. I synthesize past work related to competition policy to center an approach to developing an impactful Sport Management literature, broadly speaking. Beginning with a description of industrial organizational lessons for Sport Management research, I exhibit how this frame provides additional scholarly substance to the trajectory of Sport Management as a discipline at the nexus of management, policy, and sport. Although this disciplinary framing is necessarily grounded in the economic structure of sport, and lessons from the Sports Economics literature, I do not argue for a supremacy or exclusivity of economics research. Rather, I propose that framing the discipline in the context of policy and market power allows for a more legitimized and inclusive area of social science that does not sacrifice its managerial roots.
A Peculiarity That Positions Sport Management
Brian M. Mills
Exogenous Policy Shock and Logic Centrality Shift: NBA Policy and NCAA Outcomes
Matthew Juravich and Brian M. Mills
This study integrates the literature on organizational fields and logics of action with the sport management and economics literature by investigating the impact of an exogenous shock on talent distribution in the field of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 men’s basketball. We examine data related to human resource entry and exit through the lens of the National Basketball Association’s one-and-done rule and its subsequent impact on competitive balance among National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 men’s basketball programs. Hypotheses are tested in relation to pre- and postshock talent dispersion and competitive balance employing an interdisciplinary econometric approach to evaluate management-driven outcomes. Broadly, we find improvements in balance and a broader distribution of player talent among schools comprising larger conferences, whereas smaller conferences experienced reductions or no changes in balance. Implications are discussed and future directions for integrated institutional theory and sport management research are suggested.
Shared Market Competition and Broadcast Viewership in the National Football League
Michael Mondello, Brian M. Mills, and Scott Tainsky
This work evaluates the cross-quality elasticity of related products in the context of Nielsen Local People Meter ratings of all regular season broadcasts from 2010 through 2013 from six National Football League teams in three shared markets. Using a fixed effects panel regression, we do not uncover evidence that viewers are swayed by the success of a rival market team in their aggregate viewership patterns, contrary to what has been found in Major League Baseball. In addition, when within-market rivals play one another, we find that viewership levels increase but in a way that indicates considerable overlap of viewership and possible substitution choices made by consumers. We expand upon the implications of this work for demand estimation in sports economics research as well as the importance of our findings to sport management-related policy.
NBA Primary Market Ticket Consumers: Ex Ante Expectations and Consumer Market Origination
Brian M. Mills, Steven Salaga, and Scott Tainsky
We add to the recent ticket market literature by using a unique, disaggregated, and proprietary data set of primary market ticket sales transactions from a National Basketball Association team that includes previously unavailable information on date of purchase, customer location, and other consumer demographics. We find that local and out-of-market fans differ in their total purchase amounts, with out-of-market fans spending more than local consumers, on average, and differential spending effects based on the home team win probability. In particular, this differential behavior has important implications for Rottenberg’s uncertainty of outcome hypothesis. We find evidence that interest in visiting team quality dominates interest in perceived contest uncertainty, fitting the reference-dependent preference model in the context of low local team quality. Further, these findings also have important implications related to market segmentation and dynamic ticket pricing in professional sport.
Local Broadcast Viewership in Major League Soccer
Hojun Sung, Brian M. Mills, and Michael Mondello
This paper estimates determinants of local market television viewership demand for Major League Soccer (MLS). We examine the effects of team quality and outcome uncertainty and compare our estimates to recent work on the determinants of MLS attendance. We find that local viewership for MLS is not particularly sensitive to uncertainty over game outcomes. However, we do find effects of local team quality and visiting superstars on viewership levels. The results also exhibit evidence of pure substitution effects where viewership transfers to attendance demand as the season progresses, and in which viewership is substituted for attendance in the face of sellouts or poor weather conditions. Team strategy and league policy implications are discussed, along with directions for future research on MLS and local viewership demand.
The Ultimatum Game in the College Football Rivalry Context
Brian M. Mills, Scott Tainsky, B. Christine Green, and Becca Leopkey
Sport rivalries have been shown to increase the emotional intensity of fans, which not only can lead to higher levels of interest and involvement but can also escalate negative fan behaviors based on in-group/out-group distinctions. This study represents the first use of an experimental economics approach in sport management to understand the behaviors of rival sports fans. Specifically, the classic behavioral economics experiment, the ultimatum game, was used to test the willingness of rival fans to make their out-group counterparts worse off. Using a $10 stake, proposers offered approximately 8.7% less to rival fans than to in-group fans, while the probability that a responder accepted an offer—holding constant offer size—was approximately 7% lower when the proposer was a rival. Team identification had no effect on offers or acceptances. Implications for understanding rivalry in sport are discussed, and advantages of behavioral economics for sport management research are noted.
On the Road With Minor League Baseball Externalities
Scott Tainsky, Brian M. Mills, Zainab Hans, and Kyunghee Lee
Investigation of minor league demand is scant relative to major leagues, particularly at the game level. This presents not only a contextual gap in the research, but also a conceptual one related to demand externalities. Minor League Baseball differs from major professional leagues in that gate revenue sharing is not a fixture in league policy, and talent investment decisions are made by the parent club. Nonetheless, it may be the case that a host club benefits from characteristics of its opponent. Econometric examination of over 31,000 minor league games across multiple leagues and seasons finds proximity to an opponent’s major league parent team increases attendance. Although the authors find evidence of increased demand for a top prospect from the home club, the presence of visiting top prospects is not associated with changes in attendance, prompting the question as to whether effective marketing efforts in this regard would increase home club revenues.