NCAA football television viewership: Product quality and consumer preference relative to market expectations

Katie M. Brown, Steven Salaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The authors estimate the determinants of college football television viewership across the full quality spectrum of contests and test whether consumer preferences vary based on changes in the attributes of the core product. They utilize national television viewership data at the individual game level over a three season period and estimate numerous consumer demand models using zero-truncated negative binomial regression. The results indicate a lack of support for anticipated outcome uncertainty, but support for contests where actual outcomes are closer than market expectations. Consumer preferences are not consistent across game qualities, which may indicate that game type is linked to variation in the consumer base and reference-dependent preferences. The findings may also explain why the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis is supported in some contexts, but not others. Preference for absolute quality also dominates preference for relative quality. This finding has important implications for contest scheduling. Given the common practice of advance scheduling creates sub-optimal conference and network television schedules, stakeholders could be leaving television revenues on the table.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-390
Number of pages14
JournalSport Management Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Behavioral economics
  • College football
  • Consumer preference
  • Outcome uncertainty
  • Product quality
  • Television viewership


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