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Unbalanced Schedules and Competitive Balance

With the NFL approaching the business-end of the season, the strength of schedule becomes of increasing importance and an interesting feature of many leagues is the deliberate use of an unbalanced schedule. The reasons for this may include time constraints, the desire to maximise match attendance and the enhancement of competitive balance.

Liam Lenten of La Trobe University in Australia makes an interesting contribution to this debate in this examination of competitive balance in the context of the unbalanced schedule in the Scottish Premier League. Lenten suggests that comparisons between the SPL and other European competitions requires a correction to the competitive balance statistic, in order to control for the unbalanced schedule. Once such corrections are made, he argues the SPL is consistently less competitive than other European leagues. 2007 has been a productive year for Liam, so look out for more of his working papers in future posts.