Rejecting the Uncertainty of Outcome Hypothesis on Attendance Demand in all Four Major European Football Leagues


  • Nick Damgaard Jespersen University of Southern Denmark
  • Line Bjørnskov Pedersen DaCHE & FEA, University og Southern Denmark



Uncertainty of Outcome, attendance demand, betting odds, tobit estimation, European football


The uncertainty of outcome (UO) hypothesis, stating that spectators prefer matches with uncertain outcomes, has over the years been tested across different sports and countries yielding different conclusions. In the case of European football, results are mixed, perhaps due to variation in the use of UO measures, explanatory variables, seasons and econometric models. We test the UO hypothesis on the four major European football leagues using the same variables, seasons and econometric models across leagues. The results show that the UO hypothesis is rejected in all four leagues.


Borland, J., and Macdonald, R. (2003). Demand for sport. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 19(4), 478-502. DOI: 10.1093/oxrep/19.4.478

Buraimo, B. (2008). Stadium Attendance and Television Audience Demand in English League Football. Managerial and Decision Economics, 29, 513–523. DOI: 10.1002/mde.1421

Buraimo, B., and Simmons, R. (2008). Do sports fans really value uncertainty of outcome? Evidence from the English Premier League. International Journal of Sport Finance, 3(3), 146-155.

Cairns, J., Jennett, N., and Sloane, P. J. (1986). The Economics of Professional Team Sports: A Survey of Theory and Evidence. Journal of Economic Studies, 13(1), 3–80. DOI: 10.1108/eb002618

Coates, D., Humphreys, B. R., and Zhou, L. I. (2014). Reference-Dependent Preferences, Loss Aversion, and Live Game Attendance. Economic Inquiry, 52(3), 959–973. DOI: 10.1111/ecin.12061

Czarnitzki, D., and Stadtmann, G. (2002). Uncertainty of outcome versus reputation: Empirical evidence for the First German Football Division. Empirical Economics, 27(1), 101-112. DOI: 10.1007/s181-002-8361-7

Falter, J., and Perignon, C. (2000). Demand for football and intramatch winning probability: an essay on the glorious uncertainty of sports. Applied Economics, 32(13), 1757-1765. DOI: 10.1080/000368400421101

Forrest, D., and Simmons, R. (2006). New issues in attendance demand: The case of the English Football League. Journal of Sports Economics, 7(3), 247-266. DOI: 10.1177/1527002504273392

Forrest, D., and Simmons, R. (2002). Outcome uncertainty and attendance demand in sport: The case of English soccer. The Statistician, 51(2), 229-241. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9884.00314

Garcia, J., and Rodriguez, P. (2002). The determinants of football match attendance revisited: Empirical evidence from the Spanish Football League. Journal of Sports Economics, 3(1), 18-38. DOI: 10.1177/152700250200300103

Greene, W. H. (1997). Econometric Analysis. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Kahneman, D., and Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk. Eonometrica: Journal of the Econometric Society, 47(3), 263–291. DOI: 10.2307/1914185

Krautmann, A. C., and Berri, D. J. (2007). Can we find it at the concessions? Understanding price elasticity in professional sports. Journal of Sports Economics, 8(2), 183-191. DOI: 10.1177/1527002505275093

Martins, A. M., and Cró, S. (2018). The demand for football in Portugal: New insights on outcome uncertainty. Journal of Sports Economics, 19(4), 473-497. DOI: 10.1177/1527002516661602

Neale, W. C. (1964). The peculiar economics of professional sports: A contribution to the theory of the firm in sporting competition and in market competition. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 78(1), 1-14. DOI: 10.2307/1880543

Pawlowski, T. (2013). Testing the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis in European professional football: A Stated Preferences Approach. Journal of Sports Economics, 14(4), 341-367. DOI: 10.1177/1527002513496011

Pawlowski, T., and Anders, C. (2012). Stadium attendance in German professional football – the (un)importance of uncertainty of outcome reconsidered. Applied Economic Letters, 19(16), 533-1556. DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2011.639725

Pawlowski, T., and Nalbantis, G. (2015). Competition format , championship uncertainty and stadium attendance in European football – a small league perspective. Applied Economics, 47(38), 4128–4139. DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2015.1023949

Rottenberg, S. (1956). The baseball players’ labor market. Journal of Political Economy, 64(3), 242-258. DOI: 10.1086/257790

Szymanski, S. (2003). The economic design of sporting contests. Journal of Economic Literature, 41(4), 1137-1187. DOI: 10.1057/9780230274273

Watanabe, N. M. (2012). Japanese professional soccer attendance and the effects of regions, competitive balance, and rival franchises. International Journal of Sport Finance, 7(4), 309-323.





Jespersen, N. D., & Pedersen, L. B. (2018). Rejecting the Uncertainty of Outcome Hypothesis on Attendance Demand in all Four Major European Football Leagues. Forum for Idræt, 33(1), 100–116.



Forum for Idræt - Generelt