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Uncertainty of Outcome or Star Quality? Television Audience Demand for English Premier League Football

Babatunde Buraimo () and Rob Simmons

International Journal of the Economics of Business, 2015, vol. 22, issue 3, 449-469

Abstract: This paper presents new evidence on the relevance of uncertainty of outcome for demand for sports viewing. Using television viewing figures for eight seasons from the English Premier League, we show that uncertainty of outcome does not have the hypothesised effect on television audience demand. Separating uncertainty of outcome effects by season, the results show that, at best, uncertainty of outcome had imprecise effects on audiences in earlier seasons, but zero effects in later seasons. Television audiences have evolved to exhibit preferences for talent. We suggest that the notion of a pure sporting contest in which uncertainty of outcome matters is no longer relevant and more important is the extent to which sports teams and leagues can increase the quality of the talent on show.

Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1080/13571516.2015.1010282

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