Could More Dunking Really Help the WNBA?

Nefertiti Walker
Thomas Allred
and David Berri

Motivated by a comment Shaquille O’Neal made about the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), we ask the following question: Is consumer demand and revenue in sports driven by the entertainment spectacle of the contest or the emotional attachment derived from wins and losses? We answer this question by empirically examining gate revenue in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 2000‒01 to 2018‒19. Utilizing a linear regression with panel corrected errors, we examined the impact on factors like dunking, three-point shooting, star power, and team wins on team gate revenue. Our findings indicate that basketball fans very much care about winning, but they are less interested in how those wins are achieved.

JEL Codes: Z20, J16