Ever since the pioneering work of Rottenberg (1956) and Neale (1964), the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis (UOH) has played a major role in the economic analysis of professional sport leagues. However, decades f empirical research have not been successful in establishing clear evidence for the importance of competitive balance (CB) for attendance or TV viewers in European professional football. In order to find possible reasons for the gap between the UOH and (the lack of) its empirical validation, our paper adopts a stated preference approach focused on the fans' perception of CB and its relevance in three European professional football leagues. The results indicate that a tipping point/threshold value of CB exists and that crossing this threshold can lead to massive demand eactions. However, since the threshold has not been reached in the leagues included in the sample, the paper provides a possible explanation for the above mentioned gap.
Willingness-to-pay Competitive balance Uncertainty of outcome hypothesis European Football