Competition in shared markets and Major League Baseball broadcast viewership

Brian M. Mills, Michael Mondello, Scott Tainsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work evaluates the cross-quality elasticity of related products in the context of local market Nielsen Local People Meter ratings of Major League Baseball (MLB) regular season broadcasts from 2010 through 2013 from six teams in three shared markets. We employ a fixed effects panel regression with multi-way error clustering, finding that fans exhibit nuanced behaviour related to the absolute quality and relative quality of the two local teams. Our estimates imply quality-related competition for viewership between teams in the face of large disparities in quality. However, when both teams are of high quality, viewership increased beyond what own-team success would predict alone for the competing team. The competitive effects are largely dominated by the spillover effects. These findings point to complementary effects of team success beyond own-team interest, and bring about an important nuance in the literature on market definition, competition and substitution in sport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3020-3032
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Economics
Issue number32
StatePublished - Jul 8 2016


  • Market definition
  • baseball
  • broadcast ratings
  • fan substitution
  • spillover effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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