Analyzing Fan Attendance After Lockouts
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The author examines lockouts in the four major professional sports leagues in the United States, and the effect they have on future fan attendance in the short-term and long-term. To clarify, a lockout in professional sports qualifies as any cancellation of offseason training, regular season games, or postseason games due to failed labor negotiations between athletes and owners. The introduction supplied in this paper details the shared negotiation method each league employs to come to agreements on how generated revenue is split up among the players and owners. The author discusses how this form of negotiation has not always worked and demonstrates why this is for each league. In the four sections on Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball League and the National Hockey League, the author examines the main issues that have led to the recent lockouts in each sport, the length of the lockout and the bargaining resolutions that end the work stoppage. Next, the author presents the resulting change in fan attendance once each league resumes from their lockout through the use of official attendance records, newspapers, media outlets and academic journals. He then concludes from these findings whether or not fan attendance increased or decreased in the short-run, which includes data four to five years after a lockout, and the long-run, which includes data obtained six years or more after a lockout. If there were no evident changes in the long-run because not enough time had elapsed since a lockout, he identifies trends that give insight into the direction fan attendance may go in down the line.