Title: Mind the gap: an analysis of competitive balance in the English Football League system

Authors: Daniel Plumley; Girish Ramchandani; Rob Wilson

Addresses: Academy of Sport and Physical Activity, Sheffield Hallam University, UK ' Sport Industry Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, UK ' Academy of Sport and Physical Activity, Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Abstract: Competitive balance of league competitions is an important component of sport economics. Evidence suggests that a less attractive product might struggle to command a high market value. Thus, it is imperative that sport leagues remain competitively balanced with a degree of uncertainty of outcome. This paper analyses competitive balance within the English Football League system since the inception of the English Premier League (EPL) in 1992. It examines variations in overall competitive balance within and between the EPL and the three divisions that make up the football league. Competition for the title, promotion and relegation is also analysed. The results indicate a reduction in competitive balance in the EPL over time and that the EPL is less balanced overall relative to the football league, which is partly influenced by the higher financial disparity between teams in the EPL. Nonetheless, fan interest in the EPL and the value of broadcasting deals do not appear to be negatively influenced.

Keywords: competitiveness; English Premier League; EPL; English Football League; football finance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2018.094344

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2018 Vol.18 No.5, pp.357 - 375

Received: 07 Jun 2016
Accepted: 21 Mar 2017

Published online: 25 Jul 2018 *

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