Seeding, Competitive Intensity and Quality in Knock-Out Tournaments

26 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2015 Last revised: 27 Aug 2015

See all articles by Dmitry Dagaev

Dmitry Dagaev

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Alex Suzdaltsev

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: March 19, 2015

Abstract

Before a knock-out tournament starts, the participants are assigned to positions in the tournament bracket through a process known as seeding. There are many ways to seed a tournament. In this paper, we solve a discrete optimization problem of finding a seeding that maximizes spectator interest in a tournament when spectators are interested in matches with high competitive intensity (i.e., matches that involve teams comparable in strength) and high quality (i.e., matches that involve strong teams). We find a solution to the problem under two assumptions: the objective function is linear in quality and competitive intensity and a stronger team beats a weaker one with sufficiently high probability. It turns out that, depending on parameters, only two special classes of seedings can be optimal. While one of the classes includes a seeding that is often used in practice, the seedings in the other class are very different. When we relax the assumption of linearity, we find that these classes of seedings are in fact optimal in a sizable number of cases. In contrast to existing literature on optimal seedings, our results are valid for an arbitrarily large number of participants in a tournament.

Keywords: knock-out tournaments, seeding, competitive intensity, quality

JEL Classification: C61, Z20

Suggested Citation

Dagaev, Dmitry and Suzdaltsev, Aleksei, Seeding, Competitive Intensity and Quality in Knock-Out Tournaments (March 19, 2015). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 91/EC/2015 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2580823 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2580823

Dmitry Dagaev (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Aleksei Suzdaltsev

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
197
rank
150,565
Abstract Views
1,459
PlumX Metrics