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Scott Tainsky and Mateusz Jasielec

This study uses consumer-theory modeling in exploring the broadcasts of games not featuring a local team. Our general linear mixed model controls for the variation in consumption attributable to traditionally employed determinants of demand and highlights factors related to home team loyalty. The study concludes that while traditional shifters are likewise useful in estimating demand for out-of-market games, fan allegiance to their local team plays a central role in the viewership of all games, even those in which the local team is not explicitly involved. The observation of compositional inheritance effects underscores the significance of local identification in league-wide interest, a phenomenon of growing importance with the ever-increasing availability of out-of-market games.

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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.

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Lisa Kihl, Kathy Babiak and Scott Tainsky

As corporate community initiatives (CCI) in sport are becoming an important dimension of corporate social responsibility, a key issue is evaluating the quality of the processes by which they are delivered and how they are managed. The purpose of this study was to explore the implementation process of a professional sport team’s CCI using program evaluation theory (Chen, 2005). Interviews were conducted with 42 key stakeholders (team executives, partnership implementers, participants, parents, coaches) from one Major League Baseball team’s CCI to understand critical processes involved in CCI implementation and execution. The findings showed concerns in the quality of program implementation with the: 1) the partnership agreement, 2) the ecological context, 3) protocol and implementation, and 4) target population. We propose an iterative model of program evaluation for use in the sport context. We conclude the paper with recommendations for further research in this area and implications for practitioners.

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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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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.

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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.

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Kathy Babiak, Brian Mills, Scott Tainsky and Matthew Juravich

This study explored the philanthropic landscape of professional athletes and their charitable foundations. This research also investigated factors influencing the formation of philanthropic foundations among this group of individuals. First, data were collected to identify athletes in four professional North American sport leagues who had formed charitable foundations. Then, 36 interviews were conducted with athletes, foundation directors, league and team executives and a sport agent to explore the motives and beliefs about philanthropy in professional sport. Using the theory of planned behavior, this paper identified the factors considered in the formation of charitable foundations in this unique group, primarily focusing on attitudes (altruistic and self-interested), perceived behavioral control, subjective norms, self-identity and moral obligation as antecedents to athlete philanthropic activity. The paper also discusses the unique context in which these individuals operate, some of the particular constraints they face, and identifies opportunities for athlete foundations and their partners.

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Scott Tainsky, Steven Salaga and Carla Almeida Santos

The scholarship on the economics of individual sports is scant relative to that of team sports. This study advances sport management scholarship, particularly sport economics, by using consumer-theory modeling to estimate Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pay-per-view purchases. Our generalized linear models show fan preferences for certain weight classes, star fighters, outcome uncertainty and comain event quality factors as well as scheduling preferences for holiday weekends. The popular notion that The Ultimate Fighter reality series served as the impetus for the UFC’s growth is supported in part. The study concludes by showing how the modeling results impact firm revenue generation via fight card characteristics.

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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.

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Carla A. Santos, Scott Tainsky, K. Alexander Schmidt and Changsup Shim

To date, scholarly attention to mixed martial arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization has been limited. This study sought to address this gap in literature by focusing on the news media’s framing of public officials’ discourse concerning MMA. In so doing, the study addressed the entanglement of news media, sport, and contemporary political maneuvering. Overall, findings suggest two dominant media frames: leveraging of sociopolitical capital to protect societal values and leveraging of sociopolitical capital to advocate for legislation. Specifically, the authors propose that news media have framed and reframed MMA as a succession of moral threats and reassurances that are given voice by public officials in the name of protecting the citizenry.