Estimating Demand for Aggressive Play: The Case of English Premier League Football, pp. 192-210

R. Todd Jewell

This study estimates a demand curve for physically aggressive play in the English Premier Football League (EPL), the highest level of professional association football (soccer) in England. Employing a league-point-maximization framework in which a team chooses its level of aggressive play as an input, optimum aggressive play is assumed to respond to its price, where price is the reduction in the probability of a win or a tie resulting from aggressive play. The results indicate that aggressive play by EPL teams, as measured by total disciplinary points, is responsive to opportunity cost for both the home and away teams in a given match, although the responsiveness of the away team is shown to be much larger than that of the home team. Therefore, EPL teams can be expected to respond to policies that are designed to reduce aggressive play through increases in the cost of such behavior, and such policies can be expected to influence the behavior of away teams more than home teams. If fans of EPL football have preferences for less aggressive play, then the league may be able to increase revenues by reducing aggression through increases in opportunity cost.