Is Gender a Competitive Balance Driver? Evidence from Scandinavian Football
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Research question: Women’s football is more popular than ever, but it still has much smaller attendance than men’s football. Rottenberg’s uncertainty of outcome hypothesis suggests a relationship between competitive balance and attendance. This paper focuses on competitive balance. The research question is: What is the level of competitive balance in the women’s football leagues in Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden and Norway), and how is this level compared to their respective men’s leagues? Research methods: The research methods are quantitative in two ways. The first part is related to measures for measuring competitive balance and the second part concerns statistical tests for analysing the differences in competitive balance. The data is from the end-of-season tables from the six Scandinavian football leagues for men and women over the period from 1995 to 2015 (up to 120 observations). Results and findings: A comparison with the men’s leagues shows that competitive balance is much weaker in women’s football in Scandinavia. This statement holds for all measures except championship winner concentration. Among the women’s leagues, Denmark has the weakest competitive balance. Norway and Sweden are very similar, but two of the measures find the latter to be better balanced. Implications: Competitive balance in Scandinavian women’s football is weak. If competitive balance in women’s football matters, the results in this paper suggest more equal distribution of league level revenues than for the men’s football leagues.