Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Business and Economics



Committee Chair

Brad R. Humphreys

Committee Co-Chair

Adam Nowak

Committee Member

Adam Nowak

Committee Member

Jane Ruseski

Committee Member

Barbara Apostolou


This dissertation presents three essays which demonstrate how sports data can be applied to answer economic questions. Essay 1 explores whether multiple reference points can affect individuals behavior using data from professional figure skating competitions. The second essay examines the role of professional sports facilities and teams in generating local amenities. Using data from eSports tournaments, the third essay aims at understanding whether tournament theory predictions hold in competitions involving mostly mental effort.

The first chapter, ``Incentives and Economic Decisions: Evidence from Sports Data'' studies the effect of multiple reference points on decisions made by professional athletes. Unique design features present in elite-level figure skating competitions generate two salient reference points: one reflecting rational expectations about the likelihood of success and the other reflecting information on the performance of previous competitors. An analysis of effort decisions and competition outcomes shows that both reference points affect skaters’ decisions; the effect diminishes with experience. The results support the idea that the elimination of market anomalies takes time even for highly-trained professionals and the time required varies depending on the specific reference point.

The second chapter, ``Sports Arenas, Teams and Property Values: Temporary and Permanent Shocks to Local Amenity Flows'' examines how professional sports facilities and teams generate local amenity flows in cities that may affect property values. Previous research shows evidence of important positive and negative local amenity flows based on case studies of changes in residential property values in specific cities. Changes in residential property values in Oklahoma City are analyzed over a period, 2000 to 2016, where both temporary and permanent exogenous shocks to local sports-related amenities occurred. Results from hedonic price models and repeat sales regression models show that nearby residential property prices increased after the opening of a new arena and the arrival of a new, permanent NBA team in the city. The presence of a temporary NBA team visiting the city also had a positive impact.

The third chapter, ''Tournament Incentives and Effort: Evidence from eSports Competitions'' studies the relationship between teams' effort and various measures of skewness of tournament prize money distribution using data from major eSports events tournaments. The results indicate that eSports teams put forth more effort in the Knockout stage of the tournaments with more skewed prize distributions, more specifically with a larger coefficient of variation and larger prize spread between tournament winner and runner-up. Holding skewness of prize distribution constant, the prize pool does not affect the effort provided. These findings are consistent with tournament theory predictions and empirical evidence from ``regular sports''. But unlike ``regular sports'', difference between next round and current round prizes as well as difference between first prize and the current round prize do not significantly affect the effort exerted by teams in eSports competitions. This distinction might arise from the difference in effort nature in eSports and ``regular sports''.