Measurement of Competitive Balance in Conference and Divisional Tournament Design Academic Article uri icon


  • The conference and divisional system has long been a staple part of tournament design in the major pro-sports leagues of North America. This popular but highly rigid system determines on how many occasions all bilateral pairings of teams play each other during the season. Despite the virtues of this system, it necessitates removing the biases it generates in the set of win ratios from the regular season standings prior to calculating within-season measures of competitive balance. This article applies a modified version of a recent model, an extension that is generalizable to any unbalanced schedule design in professional sports leagues worldwide, to correct for this inherent bias for the NFL over the seasons 2002-2011, the results of which suggest the NFL is even more competitively balanced than thought previously.

publication date

  • 2015