Theoretical Models of Sports Leagues and Other Contests

  • Luke Devonald

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis was submitted by Luke Devonald to the University of Manchester for the degree of PhD in Economics on 1st February 2017. The thesis consists of three separate chapters all of which investigate Theoretical Models of Sports Leagues and Other Contests. Chapter One outlines a new approach for modelling sports leagues, which complements traditional analyses of clubs' off-field talent recruitments with a subsequent analysis of players' on-field efforts. Most notably, the approach reveals a new theoretical basis for the hypothesis that sports fans prefer outcome uncertainty.Chapter Two provides a new theoretical model of the soft budget constraint phenomenon, in which governments provide bailouts for loss-making clubs in European soccer leagues. Most notably, the model indicates that governments provide an inefficiently high level of bailout funding to clubs. However, the model reveals that some positive level of bailout funding may be optimal.Chapter Three analyses a generic contest model with the possibility of a draw; an outcome in which no contestant is the winner. Most notably, our analysis reveals that introducing the possibility of a draw reduces homogeneous contestants' efforts. However, with heterogeneous contestants, introducing the possibility of a draw may induce greater effort from the strongest contestant.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPaul Madden (Supervisor)


  • Contests
  • Sports

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