Centre for Sports Economics and Law - Masters by Research Theses

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    An examination of the deprivation amplification hypothesis: an application to GAA pitches in Ireland
    (University College Cork, 2022-05-06) O'Mullane, Colm; Butler, Robert; Butler, David; Eakins, John
    Research Question – This study analyses the levels of accessibility to GAA pitches and aims to discern whether those who live in more deprived areas have worse levels of accessibility, in line with the deprivation amplification hypothesis proposed by Macintyre (2007). The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) has existed since 1884 and is the governing body for indigenous Irish sports such as hurling and Gaelic football. GAA pitches are quite well dispersed throughout the country, which makes them ideal to gauge the levels of accessibility. Results and Findings – The likelihood of a GAA pitch being located in an electoral division is not affected by deprivation. It is found that in the majority of cases those living in more deprived areas do not have worse levels of accessibility to a GAA pitch. Those living in more deprived areas have a shorter distance to travel to a GAA pitch in an urban electoral division, but a longer distance to travel to a GAA pitch in a rural electoral division. Implications and Recommendations – The results of this study offer insights into the levels of accessibility for sport facilities in Ireland. These results can inform the strategic decision making of sporting bodies such as the GAA, as well as the Irish government and policymakers in regard to the allocation of sports funding and grants, as well as the location of new sporting facilities.
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    Are players born earlier in the calendar year more likely to experience elite dropout?
    (University College Cork, 2021) Buckley, Timothy Cathal; Butler, David; Butler, Robert; Jordan, Declan
    The relative age effect (RAE) has been consistently documented among elite football players at youth level but has been shown to dissipate at senior level. This research explores whether players born earlier in the calendar year, initially selected to play at an elite level, are more likely to be identified as dropouts at a later date. Statistical analysis is used to test for the presence and extent of RAE from a sample of almost 9,000 elite underage national league football players in the Republic of Ireland. Results reveal a bias towards players born early in the calendar year, and in the first quarter in particular. The bias is most pronounced at the youngest age group included in the analysis, at U15 level. Further statistical analysis assesses the differences between the observed distribution of births of 163 players who were identified as dropouts and the expected distribution of births. Players born earlier in the calendar year are also found to be more likely to be identified as dropouts from underage national league football in the Republic of Ireland. In comparison, their relatively younger counterparts, although less likely to be selected to play at an elite level initially, are significantly less likely to be identified as dropouts. Recommendations made based on the results include adopting a more strategic and long-term approach to be adopted during the initial player selection processes, and further education of coaches regarding youth development as well as the presence and consequences of RAE.
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    An investigation of the determinants of demand for UEFA qualifiers from 2012 to 2017
    (University College Cork, 2021) Pearson, Colm; Butler, David; Butler, Robert
    This research investigates the determinants of demand for UEFA international football qualifiers from 2012 to 2017, inclusive. Previous research suggests competitive balance, economic factors, quality of viewing, and scheduling are important factors in increasing domestic football attendance. To date, limited attention has been paid to these factors and international football matches. This thesis uses a linear multivariable approach to explain the volatility of attendance by UEFA members for the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Using secondary data 541 UEFA qualifying matches are analysed. Each of UEFA’s fifty-five members are included in the sample and the dataset incorporates all group and play off fixtures for each qualifying campaign. The results show that stadium quality, increases in income, team quality and significant matches substantially increase attendance. In addition, the findings reject the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis. There is no evidence that supporters appreciate outcome uncertainty in the short run. Interestingly, eliminations are found to be a significant deterrent to attend international fixtures in the UEFA region.
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    What are the determinants of demand for Formula One broadcasts in the United States of America
    (University College Cork, 2021-11-10) Fahy, Ronan; Butler, David; Butler, Robert
    This research explores the determinants of demand for Formula One racing in the United States of America and pays specific attention to the relationship between outcome uncertainty and broadcasting demand (viewership figures). The work is timely on two fronts. First, little attention has been paid to demand for Formula One in a growing sports economics literature which considers consumer preferences for different sports. Second, the past decade has witnessed an unprecedented concentration of wins in the hands of a limited number of drivers and teams. As such, this research is motivated by the desire to establish superior measures of race-level balance to reflect this growing dominance. By considering outcome uncertainty using implied probabilities derived from market odds, along with a running total of world drivers and constructors championship points, this work offers a new and improved approach to those currently established in the literature. As the United States is a key broadcasting market for the Formula One Group, the research has practical implications and can offer insights into the determinants of demand in the most important market for the sport. At present research has only examined broadcasting demand in the German Formula One market, (Schreyer and Torgler, 2018). The dataset covers 81 Formula One Grand Prix from 2016 to 2020, broadcast across ESPN, NBC, ABC and CNBC in the United States. Using both Huber and Stepwise regression models, the research aims to discover how various factors influence viewership demand figures. In addition to quantifying outcome uncertainty using a new approach, the research considers the impact of other determinants of viewership such as season long competitive balance, broadcast accessibility, substitute sporting broadcasts, specific track characteristics and scheduling factors. It is discovered that as the difference in betting odds between the first and fifth qualified driver increases, viewership figures increase. These findings do not support the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis (UOH) and show that consumers display a preference for less closely contested races. Furthermore, the scheduling and broadcast accessibility of live Grand Prix races are of high importance in order to maximise viewership figures.