Structural Change in Competitive Balance in Big-Time
Published online: 18 May 2016
Ó Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016
Abstract Competitive balance is an important element of fan preferences in sports
industries. We analyze the time series behavior of competitive balance measures
over the entire histories of each of the current US. ‘‘Power 5’’ football conferences.
Competitive balance has been remarkably stable. All series are stationary by unit
root tests. None of the very few structural break points that we do ﬁnd coincide with
economy-wide shocks (wars and the Great Depression) or with any particular col-
lege-football-wide policy alteration. This has important implications for sports
researchers and for policy in the ‘‘big-time’’ college football industry.
Keywords Sports industry Á Competitive balance Á Big-time college football
Competitive balance is an important characteristic of fan preferences in sports
While there has been some attention to competitive balance relative to
historic events in US college football, to our knowledge there is no formal,
comprehensive time series assessment of competitive balance in Football Bowl
Subdivision (FBS) conferences. In this paper we analyze the time series behavior of
competitive balance measures over the histories of each of the FBS ‘‘Power 5’’
& Rodney Fort
Texas A&M University, 342BB Blocker, 4243 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843, USA
University of Michigan, 1402 Washington Heights, Rm. 3150, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2013,
The idea that balance matters to fans can be traced in economics back to Rottenberg (1956).
Rev Ind Organ (2017) 50:27–41