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An Empirical Examination of the Development and Impact of Star Power in Major League Baseball

by Michael Lewis, Yeujun Yoon

ARTICLE | Journal of Sports Economics | Forthcoming


Abstract


While the determinants of Major League Baseball attendance have been thoroughly researched, the literature is conspicuously incomplete in regard to the attendance effects of star players. Addressing two concerns in the research, this study develops two measures of players’ star power and, analyzing within-season fluctuations in game attendance from 1969-2010, demonstrates a positive and statistically significant relationship between attendance and varying gradations of star power of the home and visiting teams’ starting pitchers. Using over four decades worth of data, the results of this study also suggest that fan responsiveness to star players has declined considerably over time.
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