Archive for the ‘professional sports’ Category

Body Mass Index, Playing Position, Race, and the Cardiovascular Mortality of Retired Professional Football Players

August 24, 2012 Comments off

Body Mass Index, Playing Position, Race, and the Cardiovascular Mortality of Retired Professional Football Players
Source: American Journal of Cardiology

Concern exists about cardiovascular disease (CVD) in professional football players. We examined whether playing position and size influence CVD mortality in 3,439 National Football League players with ≥5 pension-credited playing seasons from 1959 to 1988. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) compared player mortality through 2007 to the United States population of men stratified by age, race, and calendar year. Cox proportional hazards models evaluated associations of playing-time body mass index (BMI), race, and position with CVD mortality. Overall player mortality was significantly decreased (SMR 0.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.48 to 0.59) as was mortality from cancer (SMR 0.58, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.72), and CVD (SMR 0.68, 95% CI 0.56 to 0.81). CVD mortality was increased for defensive linemen (SMR 1.42, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.92) but not for offensive linemen (SMR 0.70, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.05). Defensive linemen’s cardiomyopathy mortality was also increased (SMR 5.34, 95% CI 2.30 to 10.5). Internal analyses found that CVD mortality was increased for players of nonwhite race (hazard ratio 1.69, 95% CI 1.13 to 2.51). After adjusting for age, race, and calendar year, CVD mortality was increased for those with a playing-time BMI ≥30 kg/m2 (hazard ratio 2.02, 95% CI 1.06 to 3.85) and for defensive linemen compared to offensive linemen (hazard ratio 2.07, 95% CI 1.24 to 3.46). In conclusion, National Football League players from the 1959 through 1988 seasons had decreased overall mortality but those with a playing-time BMI ≥30 kg/m2 had 2 times the risk of CVD mortality compared to other players and African-American players and defensive linemen had higher CVD mortality compared to other players even after adjusting for playing-time BMI.

Minimum Pay Scale and Career Length in the NBA

August 4, 2012 Comments off

Minimum Pay Scale and Career Length in the NBA (PDF)

Source: Research Papers in Economics

We use data from the National Basketball Association (NBA) to analyze the impact of minimum salaries on an employee’s career length. The NBA has a salary structure in which the minimum salary a player can receive increases with the player’s years of experience. Salary schedules similar to the NBA’s exist in public education, federal government agencies, the Episcopalian church, and unionized industries. Even though the magnitude of the salaries in the NBA differs from other industries, this study provides insight to the impact of this type of salary structure on career length. Using duration analysis, we find statistically significant evidence that minimum salaries shorten career length.

A Note on the “Linsanity” of Measuring the Relative Efficiency of National Basketball Association (NBA) Guards

May 27, 2012 Comments off

A Note on the “Linsanity” of Measuring the Relative Efficiency of National Basketball Association (NBA) Guards (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

This note examines the productive efficiency of 62 starting guards during the 2011/12 National Basketball Association (NBA) season. This period coincides with the phenomenal and largely unanticipated performance of New York Knicks’ starting point guard Jeremy Lin and the attendant public and media hype known as Linsanity. We employ a data envelopment analysis (DEA) approach that includes allowance for an undesirable output, here turnovers per game, with the desirable outputs of points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks per game and an input of minutes per game. The results indicate that depending upon the specification, between 29 and 42 percent of NBA guards are fully efficient, including Jeremy Lin, with a mean inefficiency of 3.7 and 19.2 percent. However, while Jeremy Lin is technically efficient, he seldom serves as a benchmark for inefficient players, at least when compared with established players such as Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade. This suggests the uniqueness of Jeremy Lin’s productive solution and may explain why his unique style of play, encompassing individual brilliance, unselfish play, and team leadership, is of such broad public appeal.

Bayesball: A Bayesian Hierarchical Model for Evaluating Fielding in Major League Baseball

April 28, 2012 Comments off

Bayesball: A Bayesian Hierarchical Model for Evaluating Fielding in Major League Baseball (PDF)
Source: Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

The use of statistical modeling in baseball has received substantial attention recently in both the media and academic community. We focus on a relatively under-explored topic: the use of statistical models for the analysis of fielding based on high-resolution data consisting of on-field location of batted balls. We combine spatial modeling with a hierarchical Bayesian structure in order to evaluate the performance of individual fielders while sharing information between fielders at each position. We present results across four seasons of MLB data (2002–2005) and compare our approach to other fielding evaluation procedures.

See: Sports by the Numbers: Predicting Winners and Losers (Knowledge@Wharton Today)

Outcome Uncertainty, Reference-Dependent Preferences and Live Game Attendance

April 21, 2012 Comments off

Outcome Uncertainty, Reference-Dependent Preferences and Live Game Attendance (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

We develop a consumer choice model of live attendance at a sporting event with reference-dependent preferences. The predictions of the model motivate the “uncertainty of outcome hypothesis” (UOH) as well as fan’s desire to see upsets and to simply see the home team win games, depending on the importance of the reference-dependent preferences and loss aversion. A critical review of previous empirical tests of the UOH reveals significant support for models with reference-dependent preferences, but less support for the UOH. New empirical evidence from Major League Baseball supports the loss aversion version of the model.a

Play ball! How MLB teams rank in political giving

April 5, 2012 Comments off

Play ball! How MLB teams rank in political giving
Source: Sunlight Foundation

It’s opening day of Major League Baseball’s 2012 season, so Sunlight has decided to take a look at which teams are the heaviest hitters when it comes to political giving.

Turns out the deepest pockets don’t always correlate with most home runs.

The Baltimore Orioles finished dead last in the American League East last year with a dismal record of 63 wins and 93 losses, but giving by their politically active owner, Peter Angelos, has made the Charm City team the champions of campaign giving.

Angelos gave more in the 2002 election cycle–some $2.1 million–than he did in any other. Perhaps the longtime Democratic donor wanted to influence the legislative fight to authorize the Department of Homeland Security, had a bitter taste left by the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore, or wanted to distract himself from an announcement made by Commissioner Bud Selig that neighboring Washington — which Angelos long regarded as part of his market — was the prime choice to relocate the Montreal Expos. The O’s owner tried to block the move, failed, but did manage to win concessions including other owners guaranteeing a $365 million sales price should Angelos sell the team. He also forced an unfavorable TV deal on the team — which has prompted grousing but no serious pushback from members of Congress who, after all, control baseball’s antitrust exemption.

Another team that makes the top five of political givers, the Philadelphia Phillies, began upping contributions to state lawmakers in the late 1990s, just as the professional sports teams in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh began pressing the Pennsylvania legislature for funding for new stadiums. The legislature cooperated and the Phillies new Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.

Despite the New York Yankees’ gold-plated payroll and the fact that late owner George Steinbrenner, was once temporarily suspended from baseball for making illegal campaign contributions to former president Richard Nixon, the lads in pinstripes finish out of the top-five of baseball’s campaign givers.

Explaining Changes in Organizational Form: The Case of Professional Baseball

February 27, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Research Papers in Economics
The Grossman-Hart-Moore (GHM) property rights model predicts the assignment of residual claims to the party with the largest effect on an asset’s value. While plausible, the model has proven relatively hard to test. In this paper, we develop a formal model based on GHM, and use it to analyze an industry that has seen substantial changes in the nature of asset ownership over time: professional baseball. Early in the 20th century, major and minor league baseball teams operated as separate and independent entities, By the middle of the 20th century, the vast majority of minor league teams had become “affiliates” of major league franchises, either through vertical integration or contractual agreements. By the end of the 20th century, full vertical integration had become much less common (and was restricted mostly to the lower minor league classifications), while the nature of contractual claims was essentially split, with major league clubs holding rights over players and coaches and minor league “owners” holding rights over local revenue sources. To explain these changes, we focus on two important functions of minor league baseball: providing local entertainment and training potential major league players. We conclude that as the relative value of these activities changed, so did the structure of ownership.

Record Number Of Americans To Celebrate Super Bowl This Year With Plans To Spend $11 Billion

February 3, 2012 Comments off
Source:  National Retail Federation
Love them or loathe them, two football titans will fight it out on Super Bowl Sunday, and more Americans than ever will join them to celebrate the big game. According to a new survey by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association conducted by BIGinsight, 173 million people will watch the game Sunday, February 5, the most in the survey’s eight-year history and up from an estimated 171 million last year. Consumer spending for the Super Bowl will reach an all-time high, too, with the average game-watcher expected to shell out $63.87 on related merchandise, apparel and snacks, up from $59.33 last year. Total Super Bowl spending is expected to reach $11.0 billion.

Full Survey Results (PDF)

The Changing Face of the Super Bowl Audience: Wealthier, More Diverse

February 3, 2012 Comments off

The Changing Face of the Super Bowl Audience: Wealthier, More DiverseSource: Nielsen
One fact is clear: The Super Bowl audience is big — attracting a record-breaking 111.5 million viewers in 2011, up from 90.7 million five years ago and 87.0 million in 2002. But, according to Nielsen’s State of the Media: Year in Sports, the Super Bowl audience is changing in other ways as well: it’s wealthier, increasingly female and diverse.

  • Higher Household Income: In 2011, 30 percent of the viewers had a household income of $100,000+, nearly double the number in 2002.
  • Greater Audience Diversity: The Super Bowl is bringing new audiences into the fold. Hispanics and African-Americans are watching the game at higher levels than before—both increased their audience share by two percentage points since 2002. Women are also watching at higher levels, accounting for 46 percent of the Super Bowl audience, compared to 43 percent in 2002.
  • Family Affair: One area where the Super Bowl audience has stayed relatively the same is age, meaning that the game continues to attract a wide audience of all ages.

Free registration required to download full report.

Super Bowl’s Greatest Hits: Top 10 Most Liked Ads of the Past Five Years

February 2, 2012 Comments off

Super Bowl’s Greatest Hits: Top 10 Most Liked Ads of the Past Five YearsSource: Nielsen

Super Bowl ads are known for generating buzz—and viewers—but not all creatives are created equal. Nielsen reveals America’s most liked commercials over the past five years, and the NFL itself tops the list. Regardless of category, emotional appeals, humor, non-fatal violence, and animals bolster quality ads and strongly resonate with consumers when executed well.

Of the 144 brands that have advertised during the Super Bowl over the past five years, only a handful of companies have had a presence in every one. From 2007-2011, these seven have earn honorable mentions for being the most resilient Super Bowl advertisers—Budweiser, CareerBuilder, Coca-Cola, Doritos, E*Trade,, and the NFL—and five also hold the distinction of being among the ten best liked Super Bowl ads of the past five years.

The Super Bowl Investment: Ad Spend Trends Over the Past Five Super Bowls

January 30, 2012 Comments off

The Super Bowl Investment: Ad Spend Trends Over the Past Five Super BowlsSource: Nielsen

While Super Bowl ads require a substantial investment, they tend to get a measurable marketing bump from their prominent placement. According to Nielsen, ads that aired during 2011’s Super Bowl XLV were, on average, 58 percent more memorable than commercials airing during regular programming in the first quarter of 2011. In addition, brand awareness for commercials airing during the Super Bowl was up to 275 percent higher than awareness for the same creative during regular programming.

Beauty and Productivity: The Case of the Ladies Professional Golf Association

November 30, 2011 Comments off

Beauty and Productivity: The Case of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (PDF)Source: Research Papers in Economics

There is much evidence that attractive looking workers earn more than average-looking workers, even after controlling for a variety of individual characteristics. The presence of such beauty premiums may influence the labor supply decisions of attractive workers. For example, if one unit of a product by an attractive worker is more rewarded than that by her less attractive coworker, the attractive worker may put more effort into improving her productivity. We examine this possibility by analyzing panel data for individual female golfers participating in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour. We find that attractive golfers record lower average scores and earn more prize money than average-looking players, even when controlling for player experience and other variables related to their natural talents. This finding is consistent with the notion that physical appearance is associated with individual workers’ accumulation of human capital or skills. If the human capital of attractive workers is at least partly an outcome of favoritism toward beauty, then the premium estimates obtained by many previous studies may have been downwardly biased.

UK — Football Matches: the Effects on Crime

November 11, 2011 Comments off

Football Matches: the Effects on Crime (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

The heavy police presence at football matches in England has reduced hooliganism in the stadium – but at what cost in terms of both policying budgets and under-protected places elsewhere in the neighbourhood? Olivier Marie examines the multiple effects of football matches on crime.

Race Effects on eBay

November 4, 2011 Comments off

Race Effects on eBay
Source: Social Science Research Network

We investigate the impact of seller race in a field experiment involving baseball card auctions on eBay. Photographs showed the cards held by either a dark-skinned/African-American hand or a light-skinned/Caucasian hand. Cards held by African-American sellers sold for approximately 20% ($0.90) less than cards held by Caucasian sellers, and the race effect was more pronounced in sales of minority player cards. Our evidence of race differentials is important because the on-line environment is well controlled (with the absence of confounding tester effects) and because the results show that race effects can persist in a thick real-world market such as eBay.

Productivity, Wages and Marriage: The Case of Major League Baseball

October 12, 2011 Comments off

Productivity, Wages and Marriage: The Case of Major League Baseball
Source: Research Papers in Economics

The effect of marriage on productivity and, consequently, wages has been long debated in economics. A primary explanation for the impact of marriage on wages has been through its impact on productivity, however, there has been no direct evidence for this. In this paper, we aim to fill this gap by directly measuring the impact of marriage on productivity using a sample of professional baseball players from 1871 – 2007. Our results show that only lower ability men see an increase in productivity, though this result is sensitive to the empirical specification and weakly significant. In addition, despite the lack of any effect on productivity, high ability married players earn roughly 16 – 20 percent more than their single counterparts. We discuss possible reasons why employers may favor married men.

Strike Three: Discrimination, Incentives, and Evaluation

September 9, 2011 Comments off

Strike Three: Discrimination, Incentives, and Evaluation (PDF)
Source: American Economic Review (via Daniel S. Hamermesh)

Major League Baseball umpires express their racial/ethnic preferences when they evaluate pitchers. Strikes are called less often if the umpire and pitcher do not match race/ethnicity, but mainly where there is little scrutiny of umpires. Pitchers understand the incentives and throw pitches that allow umpires less subjective judgment (e.g., fastballs over home plate) when they anticipate bias. These direct and indirect effects bias performance measures of minorities downward. The results suggest how discrimination alters discriminated groups’ behavior generally. They imply that biases in measured productivity must be accounted for in generating measures of wage discrimination

Hat tip: PW

Buzz and Marketability: Scoring the NFL’s Top Quarterbacks

September 8, 2011 Comments off

Buzz and Marketability: Scoring the NFL’s Top Quarterbacks
Source: Nielsen

A good quarterback does more than just run the offense and lead the team, he brings some caché—both to marketers and to fans. Among NFL QBs, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Donovan McNabb hold the highest N-Scores, Nielsen’s measure of marketability created in tandem with E-Poll. However, Michael Vick, Tom Brady, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers garnered the most buzz online since last September. Michael Vick was the hands down most buzzed about, with 16.3 percent of all quarterback buzz.

And an oft-discussed quarterback can lead (or follow) his team to buzz dominance as well. Half of the top 10 quarterbacks by N-Score were on the top 10 teams with the most buzz; however, there are a number of players and teams where no connection appears. Tony Romo garnered slightly higher than the median quarterback buzz (1.8%) while the Dallas Cowboys were one of the most buzzed about teams with 5.8 percent of all online buzz mentions. Incidentally, the Cowboys also had the most unique visitors to their website on average.

High awareness of a player—as captured through the N-Score—can also be indicative of a player’s buzz. For players like the Eagles’ Michael Vick and the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, their awareness and buzz are both high—yet their N-Score, which takes into account traits such as likeability, down-to-earth and talented—reflects negative public reaction to their activity off the field (13 and 16, respectively). Besides Matt Hasselbeck, all of the top 10 quarterbacks by N-Score received high online buzz.

Scheduling Major League Baseball Umpires and the Traveling Umpire Problem

August 6, 2011 Comments off

Scheduling Major League Baseball Umpires and the Traveling Umpire Problem (PDF)
Source: Interfaces

The scheduling needs of umpires and referees differ from the needs of sports teams. In some sports leagues, such as major league baseball in the United States, umpires travel throughout the league’s territory; they do not have a “home base.” For such leagues, balancing the need to minimize umpire travel and the objective that an umpire should not handle the games of a particular team too frequently is important. We have used our approach, which is based on network optimization and simulated annealing, to successfully schedule major league baseball umpires. To develop this approach, we created the traveling umpire problem, which includes the major umpire scheduling issues, and also provides a test bed for alternative techniques

Hat tip: PW

Trading Effects of the National Teams’ Showcase

August 4, 2011 Comments off

Trading Effects of the National Teams’ Showcase (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

This study analyzes the trading effects of FIFA World Cup in two dimensions. First, focusing on the host countries’ trade and estimating both static OLS and dynamic panel estimations, we show that participating in the World Cup significantly increases exports from the participant countries to the host countries, relative to a control group of non-participants. We also obtain the same pattern for the exports originating from the host countries to the participants. Second, we demonstrate that trade is reasonably higher for host-participant pairs compared to other country pairs both in the years of the World Cup and permanently over the sample of our data. We offer a number of plausible arguments and important channels for our findings.

Heterogeneous Worker Ability and Team-Based Production: Evidence from Major League Baseball, 1920-2009

July 29, 2011 Comments off

Heterogeneous Worker Ability and Team-Based Production: Evidence from Major League Baseball, 1920-2009 (PDF)
Source: Research Papers in Economics

A detailed longitudinal dataset is assembled containing annual performance and biographical data for every player over the entire history of professional major league baseball. The data are then aggregated to the team level for the period 1920-2009 in order to test whether teams built on a more intermediate distribution of observed talent perform better than those teams with either too high or too low a mixture of highly able and less able players. The key dependent variable used in the regressions is the percentage of games a team wins each season. Our finding is that conditioning on average player ability, dispersion in team pitching and hitting talent prior to the start of a season is related in a non-linear way to subsequent team performance. This suggests that there is an optimum heterogeneity of ability at the team level that maximises joint output. This result is robust to the inclusion of team fixed effects as well as year dummies and after controlling for the potential endogeneity of skill dispersion. These findings have potentially important applications both inside and outside of the sporting world.


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