The Role of Physical Attractiveness in Tennis TV-Viewership

UZH Business Working Paper Series, Working Paper No. 376

38 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2018

See all articles by Helmut M. Dietl

Helmut M. Dietl

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Anil Özdemir

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration

Andrew Rendall

University of Zurich - Graduate School of Business

Date Written: August 16, 2018

Abstract

What is beautiful is good, the ancient Greek lyric poet Sappho wrote over 2,500 years ago. Studies in social sciences, anthropology, psychology, and economics have shown various effects of physical attractiveness. Physically attractive people are hired more often, receive faster promotion, and generally earn more per hour; thus, there is a beauty premium. However, within the context of sports, little is known about consumer preferences concerning athletes’ physical attractiveness. In this study, we analyze 622 live tennis matches from 66 Grand Slam tournaments between 2000 and 2016, examining the relationship between attractiveness, measured by tennis players’ facial symmetry, and TV-viewership. We show that facial symmetry plays a positive role for female matches while there is no significant effect for male matches. The effect persists in several sub-sample regressions and robustness checks. Our results have important implications for managers in the field of sports. TV-broadcasters will likely acknowledge additional revenue potential from advertising due to increased viewership and change their programming accordingly. We contribute to the sports management and economics literature in that we introduce a new method to measure facial symmetry and show that physical attractiveness plays a positive role in tennis TV-viewership.

Keywords: physical attractiveness, demand, consumer discrimination, tennis

JEL Classification: L83, D12, Z2

Suggested Citation

Dietl, Helmut M. and Özdemir, Anil and Rendall, Andrew, The Role of Physical Attractiveness in Tennis TV-Viewership (August 16, 2018). UZH Business Working Paper Series, Working Paper No. 376. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3232811 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3232811

Helmut M. Dietl

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration (IBW) ( email )

Hottingerstrasse 10
Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, 8032
Switzerland

Anil Özdemir (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Department of Business Administration ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
Zurich, CH-8032
Switzerland

Andrew Rendall

University of Zurich - Graduate School of Business ( email )

Zürich
Switzerland

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