Does televising sports make people less likely to go to the event?

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This paper examines the impact of live television coverage on attendance at Scottish Premier League soccer matches during the 2002—2003 season. The authors exploit a rich data set which distinguishes match-day attendance into three groups: season ticket holders, pay-at-the-gate home team supporters, and pay-at-the-gate visiting team supporters. This examination of these categories is the first study of its kind. The results indicate matches broadcast live reduce pay-at-the-gate home team supporters by 30%. These results suggest that league administrators and club owners must consider the impact on clubs’ traditional supporters when negotiating future broadcasting rights.

Source: “Does Television Crowd Out Spectators? New Evidence From the Scottish Premier League” from Journal of Sports Economics

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