Competitive balance is critical for the survival of athletic leagues. A relationship between “uncertainty of outcome” and fan interest has been found in many sports all over the world. This paper examines competitive balance in professional netball in Australia and New Zealand by contrasting two competitions: the ANZ Championship, an elite Australasian competition that began in 2008 but was disbanded in 2016 as there was a perception of dominance by the Australian teams over their New Zealand rivals; and its Australian domestic replacement, Suncorp Super Netball, which started in 2017.
Competitive balance is gauged in three broad ways: match result concentration, which looks at the evenness of each season; team dominance, where comparisons are made across several seasons; and within game equality, which examines the results of individual games.
Several methods are used under each heading, with the results surprisingly showing that measured competitive balance was similar in the two competitions.
In sports management, quantitative analysis or sports economics, there are few published papers on netball. This is the first research to examine competitive balance in netball, and the findings have important ramifications for this women-only game, as it competes against other purveyors of professional sport.
The authors would like to thank Robert D. Macdonald for his helpful comments on this paper.
Wetherall, H.E.T., Stewart, M.F. and Trinh, T.A. (2021), "Net gains: a comparison of competitive balance between the ANZ Championship and Suncorp Super Netball", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 185-200. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBM-03-2020-0023
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