On the Optimal Realignment of a Contest: The Case of College Football

14 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2017

See all articles by Stefan Szymanski

Stefan Szymanski

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Jason A. Winfree

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Date Written: January 2018

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between demand and scheduling in college football. We first derive two different metrics for team quality, and then use those metrics to see how they impact attendance. We find that there is a positive interaction between the quality of the teams. Then various simulations are run to see how attendance would change under different scheduling scenarios. If teams are put into conferences based on the team quality measures, the average per game attendance only rises 1–2%. This is true if 1‐year or 10‐year quality measures are used. However, our simulation suggests that this effect would be more than offset, mainly because schools with larger capacity would play fewer home games and so aggregate attendance would fall. We discuss whether this effect would be mitigated by capacity adjustments in the longer term.

JEL Classification: L83, Z20, C78

Suggested Citation

Szymanski, Stefan and Winfree, Jason A., On the Optimal Realignment of a Contest: The Case of College Football (January 2018). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 56, Issue 1, pp. 483-496, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3079076 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12493

Stefan Szymanski (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Jason A. Winfree

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
+1 734 647 5424 (Phone)

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