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country of origin, ethnicity, age, and culture distance). Empirical evidence has suggested that international/national diversity has a negative effect on team performance compared with teams having a more homogeneous composition.

These findings indicate that MLB teams perform better when players tend to come from the same country. Teams consisting of only domestic American players seemed generally more highly skilled than teams with international players from multiple countries. These findings support the notion that cultural differences and communication costs are factors associated with diversity.

Assessments of the relationship between ethnic diversity and team performance support the hypothesis that more ethnically diversified teams are likely to have higher winning percentage. Considering the multi-racial culture of America, this is a meaningful finding because the league has been challenged by a lack of African American players and fan base. Despite the previous initiatives and investments for building its relationship with the African-American community, there is still more that MLB can do because they have a control of how to market its games and use its promotional communication opportunities.

Among the different ethnic groups, only the Asian portion led to a significantly positive impact on attendance. This result is quite interesting as the number of Asian players have increased along with Latino players unlike African American players in MLB. For example, past study showed that Korean American fans perceived their ethnic identity and community in relation to Korean player’s performance and presence in their home team (Shin et al., 2019). Based on this result of self-categorization as an individual of Korean descent, the current study’s positive result of Asian players might indicate the ethnic Asian community’s stronger sense of belonging to their ethnic group.

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Age diversity within a team had a significant positive effect on team performance, indicating that teams consisting of mixtures of older, more experienced players and younger, less experienced players perform better.

Timmerman (2000), for example, argued that demographic characteristics such as age and race are still in good use despite the assumption that raw demographic variables are not as reliable than underlying value diversity. However, Timmerman (2000) showed that age and racial diversity were only related to basketball performance in the 1981 to 1997 time period and no significance at all in baseball performance unlike the current study. Although, the existing research had some discrepancies for the relationships between age diversity and performance, the current study showed that it is an important demographic characteristic in professional baseball. Age difference was included as a control variable because of its linear relationship with experience as well as leadership. The positive relationship between age standard deviation and team winning percentage in this study suggests that greater age diversity was associated with a better mixture of younger and more experienced players. From 2013 to 2019, MLB players were aged between 19 and 45 years, an interval greater than in most other professional team sports.

Cultural distance to the USA was the most important factor associated with team performance, perhaps due to the large number of domestic American players on each team. Individualism score from Hofstede’s dimensions was 91 in the United States, one of the highest scores, whereas China has a score of 20. Thus, having a large number of players from individualistic countries may result in better team chemistry because communications among individualistic individuals are open and direct, with a free flow of information (Hofstede, 2001). Thus, the current cross-

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cultural study confirmed that higher collectivism score was negatively associated with team performance in baseball, a sport with lower interdependence than other team sports.

The coach/manager’s career winning percentage had a significant positive effect on team performance, suggesting that the intrinsic ability of the manager was positively correlated with team performance. That is, the manager plays a critical role in team performance. However, the role of coach in winning production is a phenomenon still lack of understanding because it is difficult to separate their contributions from the abilities of the players they coach.

This empirical study has a unique finding that matching market population of demographics and team demographics in race had positive and significant effects on demand. The results attribute the increase in attendance associated with the attractiveness of similar race between market and team demographics. Similarly, Burdekin (2005) also found a positive relationship between matching of the team’s racial composition and the racial composition of the market area and home game- attendance revenue from 1990 to 1999. However, there was no evidence in such relationship during the 1980s for the NBA using black and white players and population (McCormick & Tomllison, 2001). In the case of matching nationalities from using the similar data set as ethnicities, the matching of team and market population demographics for nationality was not significant.

SNS popularity, based on SNS followers, in the context of professional sports was first examined in the current study. The positive and significant results of SNS followers on attendance proved its current status and influence on people’s interaction, communication, and engagement. These social media platforms, Twitter and Instagram, play a key role in facilitating greater outreach and influence

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because it forms connections with other SNS users, which can be used to grow relationships online and offline. One of the differences between the two social media sites was that Twitter is more effective among American players and Instagram for International players possibly due to language barriers.