Attention sports fans

  • Art student Russ Maschmeyer designed a “Die Hard Index” to measure baseball fan loyalty in 2009, then put it into a cool graphic. I recast his formula as:
    DHI = TPI x AP x HLP, where
    TPI = ticket price index, basically a measure of how expensive tickets are relative to per capita income in the city. Unfortunately, he doesn’t really show all the data you need to calculate this index.
    AP = Attendance percentage = average attendance/stadium capacity. Notice that Philadelphia was over 100%!
    HLP = Home losing percentage = percentage of home losses
    So Cub fans (expensive tickets, lousy team) are the biggest die hards, even without figuring in the Billy Goat Curse and the Century of Regress.  Toronto (cheap tickets, decent team) has lukewarm fans. (via Chart Porn)
  • Turning to soccer, behavioral economists will be interested in why both parties in penalty kicks (shooter and goalie) behave suboptimally. The authors watched a boatload of penalty kicks and noticed what players do – and what strategies work.
    Shooters should aim for the top third of the goal – where the goalie can’t get the ball. But they rarely do. And goalies should stay still and react to the shot. Instead they tend to dive in one direction or the other before the shot occurs. In both cases, the players are behaving in a “socially rational” manner, which is a technical term meaning neither wants to look like a doofus.
    Shooters don’t want their shot to go too high, sail past the crossbar and make them the goat; it’s safer to kick low, because then a failed effort will be excused because “the goalie made a great play.”
    Goalies suffer from action bias, the idea that it is always better to do something than to do nothing. After the play, it’s better to be told “you gave it your best, but you guessed wrong” than “next time, don’t just stand there, do something.”
    Applications to boardroom behavior are left as an exercise to the reader.
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