Comparing Competitive Balance in Australian Sports Leagues


  • Ravin Charlles


During the period following the founding of the Australian Football League (AFL) of the team
salary cap in 1985 and the player draft at the end of 1986, within-season competitive balance
(measured by the seasonal distribution of team win percents) has increased. This paper continues
the investigation into whether the improvement in competitive equilibrium in the AFL can be
attributed to these labor market changes by examining competitive balance issues and labor market
changes in two other Australian sports leagues, the National Basketball League (NBL) and the
National Rugby League (NRL).
The measurement of competitive equilibrium in this idea is expanded to include a simple measure
of between-season competitive balance, namely the distribution of championships/premierships
amongst teams/clubs. The evidence argues that since 1985 with in-season competitive balance
(measured by ASD/ISD ratios) has increased slightly in all three leagues, and both pre- and post-
1985 the NRL has been the most balanced and the NBL the least balanced. The distribution of
championships/premierships is, in general, also more even in the period post-1985 period in all
three conferences.


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How to Cite

Charlles, R. (2018). Comparing Competitive Balance in Australian Sports Leagues. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJOSTHE, 1(3). Retrieved from