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Do all sporting prizes have a significant positive impact on attendance in a European national football league? Competitive intensity in the French Ligue 1

Scelles, N and Duran, C and Bonnal, L and Goyeau, D and Andreff, W (2016) Do all sporting prizes have a significant positive impact on attendance in a European national football league? Competitive intensity in the French Ligue 1. Ekonomicheskaya Politika / Economic Policy, 11 (3). pp. 82-107. ISSN 1994-5124

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Abstract

This article investigates the determinants of attendance at French football Ligue 1 matches over the 2008–2011 period, with a focus on the effect of competitive intensity. This is measured by dummies that are functions of the point difference for the home team in relation to the different sporting prizes: title, qualification in UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) club competitions, relegation. The objective is to answer the following question: do all sporting prizes have a significant positive impact on attendance? We specified and estimated a standard attendance equation including 35 explanatory variables of which 9 are related to sporting prizes. The estimations are based on a Tobit model with individual cut-off points to allow for truncation of attendance at the upper bound given by stadia capacity (i.e. sold-out games). 1135 observations are included. Our results show that all sporting prizes have a significant positive impact on attendance. In particular, there is a significant impaact of prizes for potential qualification in the UEFA Europa League which are dependent on the outcome of domestic cups (known only in the last part of season). This research contributes to the optimization of competition format and knowledge on competitive intensity and determinants of attendance. It provides an argument in favor of current sporting prizes for managers in the main European national football leagues.

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