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On outcome uncertainty and scoring rates in sport: the case of international rugby union

Scarf, Phil, Parma, Rishikesh and McHale, Ian 2019. On outcome uncertainty and scoring rates in sport: the case of international rugby union. European Journal of Operational Research 273 (2) , pp. 721-730. 10.1016/j.ejor.2018.08.021

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In this paper we investigate the relationship between outcome uncertainty and scoring rates in the framework of a “Poisson match”. We argue that increasing scoring rates in the hope of increasing entertainment may have a detrimental impact on the popularity of sport. The basis of our argument is that higher scoring-rates decrease outcome uncertainty. We use international rugby to demonstrate our findings and show that scoring rates have indeed increased significantly over the previous half-century in this sport. Therefore, administrators should recognise our general point and we suggest that rugby union administrators in particular ought to consider the introduction of new laws to reduce scoring-rates. Scenarios in which the scoring-rate is radically reduced are illustrated through a simulation of the Rugby World Cup tournament.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0377-2217
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 December 2020
Date of Acceptance: 14 August 2018
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 16:19

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