Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date


Working Paper Number

WP #11010, May 2011


Universities spend almost $2 billion subsidizing their collegiate sports programs. Even the most popular women's sport, basketball, fails to break even. An application of Becker's theory of customer discrimination is used to calculate the relative preference for men's basketball for both men and women. Median willingness to pay for men's basketball relative to women's basketball is 180% greater for men and 37% greater for women. Pricing each sport at its revenue maximizing price, revenues from women's basketball are only 43% of that for men, even at a school with historically strong demand for women's sports.

Publication Status

Published in Journal of Sports Economics, Vol. 15 no. 6 (December 2014): 579-600.

JEL Classification

D12, L83, M31

File Format



38 pages

Included in

Economics Commons