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