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Supporter Influence on Club Governance in a Sports League; a “Utility Maximization” Model

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Abstract

The article formalizes a seminal suggestion of Sloane (1971), studying a sports league in which club objectives are multi-argument utility functions defined over profits, win percentages and fan (=supporter) welfare, thus combining the three objectives that have been addressed separately in previous models. Particular focus is on the consequences of increasing the utility weight on fan welfare, to capture the recent increasing supporter involvement in club governance in UK football. Positive consequences are unambiguously higher attendances, with more nuanced affects on ticket prices and player expenditure. A normative consequence is that positive profits for club owners indicate social sub-optimality.

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