Wins, Losses, and Empty Seats: How Baseball Outlasted the Great Depression

By David George Surdam | Go to book overview

Appendix 1
Radio and Sunday Ball’s
Effect on Attendance

In the cases of radio, Sunday ball, and night ball, the benefits were varied and enmeshed with other factors. To help sort out the effects for radio and Sunday, I ran regression equations covering the seasons between 1929 and 1941. There were 208 observations, one for each year for each of the sixteen teams. I looked at each team’s win-loss record, whether a team shared a city with another club, whether a team had night ball, whether a team had Sunday ball, estimated city population, and real per-capita Gross National Product (GNP). The estimated city population variable uses the 1930 and 1940 census figures. The population figures for the intervening years were derived by a simple adjustment of one-tenth of the decade’s change per year. Obviously this is a crude estimate of a city’s population for non-census years. I tried using real spectator sports spending as an indicator of the economic conditions but the real per capita GNP variable was a better explanatory variable.

For the dependent variables I used attendance (or its natural-log transformation) and real profit/loss. Given the potential “noise” in the profit/loss figures from player sales/purchases (which were not amortized) and from installing lights or other stadium improvements, the relatively weak explanatory power of the equations is not surprising.

A dummy variable for radio broadcasts (1 if the team broadcast home games during a given season; 0 if not) was not definitive, given the ambiguity concerning Detroit and Cleveland’s broadcasting of home

-307-

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Wins, Losses, and Empty Seats: How Baseball Outlasted the Great Depression
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • Prologue Clash of Titans 1
  • 1- The Financial Side of the Game 5
  • 1- The American Economy and the State of Baseball Profits 7
  • 2- Why Did Profits Collapse? the Revenue Side 27
  • 3- Why Did Profits Collapse? Player Salaries and Other Expenses 59
  • 4- Farm Systems 95
  • Conclusion of Economic Side 109
  • 2- The Game on the Field 111
  • 5- Competitive Balance 113
  • 6- Player Movement 131
  • 3- Using League Rules to Aid in the Recovery 157
  • 7- Helping the Indigent 159
  • 8- Manipulating the Schedule to Increase Revenue 169
  • 4- Innovations to Boost Attendance and Profits 195
  • 9- Radio and Baseball 197
  • 10- Baseball under the Lights 219
  • 11- Other Innovations 247
  • 12- How Effective Were the Innovations? 279
  • 13- The Inept and the Restless Franchise Relocation 285
  • Epilogue the End of An Era 301
  • Appendix 1- Radio and Sunday Ball's Effect on Attendance 307
  • Appendix 2- Dramatis Personae 309
  • Appendix of Tables 315
  • Notes 353
  • Bibliography 399
  • Index 405
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