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Michael Mondello

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Joel Maxcy and Michael Mondello

Free agency was reintroduced to professional team sport leagues in the 1970s. Sport enthusiasts expressed concern that competitive balance would diminish as star players congregated to large market cities. However, the economic invariance principle rejects this notion, indicating that balance should remain unchanged. This article empirically examines the effects of changes in free agent rules on competitive balance over time in the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), and National Hockey League (NHL). Regression analysis using within-season and between-season measures of competitive balance as dependent variables provides mixed results. The NFL and NHL provide evidence that an aspect of competitive balance has improved, but results from the NBA indicate that balance has worsened since the introduction of free agency. We conclude that the ambiguous results suggest that the effects are not independent, but instead depend on the interaction of free agent rights with other labor market and league rules.

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Michael J. Mondello

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Michael J. Mondello

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Brad R. Humphreys and Michael Mondello

The authors tested the hypothesis that donations to universities vary with athletic success using a comprehensive panel data set drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) over the period of 1976–1996. Estimation of a linear reduced-form model of the determination of donations to colleges and universities indicates that postseason football bowl-game and NCAA Division I men’s basketball-tournament appearances were associated with significant increases in restricted giving and no increases in unrestricted giving to public institutions the following year, whereas only postseason basketball appearances were associated with increases in restricted giving to private institutions.

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Steven Salaga, Scott Tainsky and Michael Mondello

The authors demonstrate that betting market outcomes are a statistically significant and economically relevant driver of local market television viewership in the National Basketball Association. Ratings are higher when the local market team covers the point spread and when point spread outcome uncertainty is increased. They further illustrate that point spread market outcomes have a larger relative impact on viewership in less-popular games and when the local market team is expected to perform poorly. This suggests wagering market access serves as insurance to the league and its franchises against reduced viewership in games that are less appealing to consumers. The results assess the degree to which wagering interest has driven past revenues as well as how the legalization of sports wagering may influence future revenues.

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Timothy B. Kellison and Michael J. Mondello

Direct democracy practices such as initiatives and referenda are increasingly ignored or circumvented by political leaders who allocate subsidies toward new professional sport stadium developments. In a democracy, such a means of governing may be problematic if the outcome is unreflective of the public will. The existing literature makes several theoretical connections for this line of political decision-making, including urban growth machines and trustee–delegate representation. In this paper, these concepts are integrated with empirical evidence to support the conceptualization of civic paternalism, a term that provides partial description of the political decision-making process. Civic paternalists justify their decisions by arguing that a city’s continued vibrancy and growth optimize community benefit while remaining acutely aware of their decisions’ political consequences. We illustrate the concept of civic paternalism by drawing from interviews with political leaders associated with one of the most recent cases of the no-vote subsidy.

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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.

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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.