Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type



Moore School of Business

Director of Thesis

Dr. Matthew Brown

First Reader

Dr. Johan Rewilak

Second Reader

Dr. Johan Rewilak


While it has long been theorized by sports fans that an organization’s salary influences the success of the team, this thesis will look to examine if the supposed correlation is accurate. This thesis compiles existing research regarding current salary cap systems in American professional sports leagues and examines league-wide methods employed to maintain competitive balance. The discussion then shifts to consider the additional governing factors that determine organizational success, such as team cohesion, the rise in international players, and the increased player movement via free agency. The research then shifts to examine two specific professional sports leagues: Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Basketball Association (NBA). Utilizing data from the 2013 through 2022 MLB seasons and 2012-13 through 2021-22 NBA seasons, the thesis will analyze the team salary totals’ effectiveness at predicting four response variables associated with team success: regular season wins, home field or court wins, playoff wins, and championship success. The results indicate that team salary may not be as impactful on team success as many would presume. However, there is an intriguing trend to monitor among the MLB and NBA, as the impact of team salary on team success is steadily increasing.

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© 2023, Benjamin R Garner