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The Yankees Effect: The Impact of Interleague Play And The Unbalanced Schedule On Major League Baseball Attendance

Rodney J. Paul, Andrew P. Weinbach and Peter C. Melvin

New York Economic Review, 2004, vol. 35, issue 1, 3-15

Abstract: Major League Baseball introduced interleague play in 1997 and an unbalanced schedule between division and non-division opponents in 2001. These changes were designed to lower costs to organizations within the league and boost attendance. A game-to-game attendance model is specified for the Major League Baseball teams for 2001. We find that interleague play significantly increases attendance in National League cities only, while the unbalanced schedule has positive but insignificant attendance effects in American League cities. Working from these results, the model was re-specified to include the dominant team of this era, the New York Yankees, as a separate determinant for both interleague and divisional games. It was found that the Yankees have a large and significant effect on interleague attendance, while the impact of the other teams is not found to be significant. The same impact, to a lesser extent, is found for the divisional opponents of the Yankees under the unbalanced schedule.

Date: 2004
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