Revenue sharing is a common league policy in professional sports leagues. Several motivations for revenue sharing have been explored in the literature, including supporting small market teams, affecting league parity, suppressing player salaries, and improving team profitability. We investigate a different motivation. Risk-averse team owners, through their commissioner, are able to increase their utility by using revenue sharing to affect higher order moments of the revenue distribution. In particular, it may reduce the variance and kurtosis, as well as affecting the skewness of the league distribution of team local revenues. We first determine the extent to which revenue sharing affects these moments in theory, then we quantify the effects on utility for Major League Baseball over the period 2002–2013. Our results suggest that revenue sharing produced significant utility gains at little cost, which enhanced the positive effects noted by other studies.
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