Institute of Sports Science

Championship (un)certainty and stadium attendance

23.03.2015 – Despite the first home defeat of the season, Bayern Munich is still dominating the German Bundesliga. Accordingly, there is an ongoing debate about the (un-)certainty of the championship race in Germany as well as possible consequences for the league.

For several years now, the relationship between competition format, (perceived) competitive balance and spectatorship in professional football is one of the major subjects of sports economics research at the University of Tübingen. Recent findings confirm that fans in the German Bundesliga do care about suspense and a close championship race. Particularly, games which involve at least one team with chances to become champion draw more spectators than others.

For the first time, a recently published paper confirms this relationship also for smaller leagues (Austria and Switzerland). Furthermore, the authors find out that it is not the specificity of the competition format in such small leagues – with teams playing each other four (instead of just two) times – that per se contributes to less championship uncertainty (Pawlowski & Nalbantis, 2015, Applied Economics).