Economics, Finance and Quantitative Analysis

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This study investigates recent determinants of revenue in North America’s four major professional sports leagues. Estimates reveal that revenue is positively associated with winning in baseball (MLB), basketball (NBA), and hockey (NHL), but not in football (NFL). The returns to winning are not diminishing as commonly assumed, which casts doubt on the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis, and differences across leagues are consistent with revenue sharing arrangements. Estimates also indicate a strong negative relationship between stadium age and revenue, which is consistent with observed rapid replacement of sports stadiums. The results have several important implications for economic models of sports leagues.