Title

Major League Baseball: What Really Puts Fans in the Stands?

Department

Economics, Finance, & Quantitative Analysis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1995

Abstract

Attendance at Major League Baseball games has long been thought to be a function of the uncertainty of a game's outcome. Optimal uncertainty and, in turn, maximal attendance are said to occur when there is a 60% chance that the home team will win. This study reexamined the data used by past researchers and found that the betting odds associated with a 60% probability of winning (7-8) are more consistent with outcome certainty than with the accepted conclusion of outcome uncertainty. One explanation for the counterintuitive finding may be that it simply costs too much to attend a MLB game today to take the chance of witnessing a losing effort.

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