Experts

Todd McFall

Assistant Teaching Professor of Economics

McFall uses his interest in golf and basketball to explain how regulatory policies impact competitors’ strategies.

Biography

Sports economist Todd McFall uses his interest in golf, basketball and tournament competition to explain how regulatory policies may have surprising outcomes with regards to competitors' strategies. In his recent book, "The (Peculiar) Economics of NCAA Basketball," McFall discusses the NCAA’s repeated favoritism towards schools with the largest economic influence. After decades of mismanagement and complacency, he argues, the NCAA is paying the price. McFall can also discuss the risks versus rewards Read More »

Sports economist Todd McFall uses his interest in golf, basketball and tournament competition to explain how regulatory policies may have surprising outcomes with regards to competitors' strategies. In his recent book, "The (Peculiar) Economics of NCAA Basketball," McFall discusses the NCAA’s repeated favoritism towards schools with the largest economic influence. After decades of mismanagement and complacency, he argues, the NCAA is paying the price. McFall can also discuss the risks versus rewards when state and local governments become involved in the financing, design, construction, and management or ownership of professional sports facilities. His findings in a study on player behavior following the banning of high-spin clubs on the PGA Tour reveal more than how pro golfers traded risk for more certain strategies and improved their scores, despite the less technologically advanced equipment with which they were allowed to play. The research supports previous studies that tell us people change their behavior when the rules change -- adding credence to the notion that government regulations may not always have the affect lawmakers anticipate. McFall has served as an economist at Welch Consulting, Ltd., where he worked with law firms seeking advice on economic litigation matters. He has published peer-reviewed articles related to golf and golfing tournaments in The Journal of Sports Economics and Applied Economic Letters. He has comfortable with both radio and broadcast interviews.

Media Appearances

Examining the economics of HB2 one year later

WFDD

March 23, 2017

WFDD’s Sean Bueter recently spoke with Wake Forest University economist Todd McFall to find out more about how the year-old law has affected the state, and what could be in store.

Why Steph Curry probably won’t be punished for not ‘sticking to sports’

Charlotte Observer

February 9, 2017

Don’t expect Under Armour to punish Steph Curry for his scathing remarks about CEO Kevin Plank’s favorable views of President Donald Trump. “Curry is on the Mount Rushmore of athletes that companies like Under Armour want to deal with. He gets dropped, he gets picked up by Nike or Adidas the next day. I think they understand he’s not someone they can substitute easily,” said McFall. Speaking up could even be a commercial opportunity for him. "It might provide him some cache amongst fans with whom he had little.”

Torrey Pines tournament on the mend after financial struggles

The San Diego Union-Tribune

January 24, 2017

As much as a new crop of talented young players like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day are energizing the sport, an aging Woods has not lost his ability to juice ratings and attendance, says sports economist Todd McFall. And his absence from Torrey may have hurt San Diego more than other tournaments, McFall theorized. “Even now, almost a full nine years since he won his last major championship — at Torrey Pines — he is by far the biggest needle mover in golf,” said McFall, an assistant economics professor at Wake Forest University who has authored articles on professional golf.

NBA free agents sign deals as high as some nations' GDPs: How the league got that rich

CNBC

July 8, 2016

Todd McFall, who researches sports and economics at Wake Forest University, even said the cap on top salaries has led to a competitive imbalance as top players "compensate themselves by finding super teams" in place of taking larger contracts.​ ​"These guys can't find contracts because there's no optioning process ... commensurate to their value," McFall said. "It seems to me like it's going to lessen the churn at the top of the NBA totem poll."

Follow the Money: Tracking the Wyndham Championship's economic impact

WFMY

August 24, 2015

More than 140,000 people went to the Wyndham Championship and it had record ratings for television viewers. WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower talked to a sports economist from Wake Forest University about the new numbers. Professor Todd McFall admits they're impressive but he thinks the $50 million estimate is a little high.

Fox Sports sets up for long game in U.S. women's soccer

Reuters

June 11, 2015

"With the Women's World Cup, they're fighting a little bit of an uphill battle, because we haven't figured out how to market successfully women's sports," said Todd McFall, a sports economics professor at Wake Forest University. Indeed, even diehard soccer fans believe Fox faces a big challenge...

LeBron James' Legacy: Fickle public perception on NBA Finals performance could affect superstar's standing and branding

International Business Times

June 7, 2015

“Winning the [Eastern Conference title] five straight times is pretty amazing, but it’s not winning the finals,” Todd McFall, a visiting assistant professor of economics at Wake Forest University, said of the personal brand implications of this series for James. “There’s a big chasm there, rightly or wrongly. His legacy is going to be defined [largely] in the finals, like it or not.”...

City Park swings big on golf with sport’s popularity in the rough

The Times–Picayune

May 6, 2015

Sports economist Todd McFall at Wake Forest University said he's not optimistic about golf's outlook. People are facing stagnant wages and less time to commit to a five-hour round of 18 holes. Meanwhile, public interest in the game waned as the implosion of Tiger Woods' career coincided with a national economic crisis in 2009, he said.

Wake professor publishes book on economics of NCAA basketball

SB Nation

October 20, 2014

In his book released on October 16th called "The (Peculiar) Economics of NCAA Basketball," Wake Forest Economics Professor Todd McFall discusses the NCAA’s repeated favoritism towards schools with the largest economic influence. After decades of mismanagement and complacency, he argues, the NCAA is paying the price...

A very Eastern Conference: Can software tycoon Vivek Ranadive make the NBA popular in India?

International Business Times

January 31, 2014

Todd McFall, a sports economist at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, believes Ranadive’s strategy will eventually pay off. "The NBA has invested in the Internet and can broadcast games anywhere on the planet. Ranadive and teams like the Sacramento Kings are using that technology to build a market that will make the NBA more successful than ever," he told NewsWise.com "Eventually, as young people in India learn more about basketball and get excited about playing the game, there will be a great Indian basketball player that will expand the connection with the fan base in that country — much like Yao Ming has done in China."

Articles

Using PGA Tour Results to Illustrate the Effects of Selection Bias

This lesson is designed to give students in a wide variety of undergraduate classes the opportunity to identify the problems inherent in analyzing imperfect data. Students are asked to analyze data, which the authors provide, from the Professional Golfers' Association Tour ...

Pandora's groove: analysing the effect of the U-groove ban on PGA Tour golfers' performances and strategies

This study examines how PGA Tour golfers' playing strategies offset a ban on technologically superior golf club grooves and how the strategy changes translated into performance changes. The ban, which was implemented at the beginning of the 2010 ...

The NCAA Basketball Tournament Selects Fan Favorites Over Parity

The rights to the annual NCAA men's basketball tournament are the most valuable asset that the organization possesses. Revenues earned from the event account for about 80% of the organization's operating budget. Despite the event's unique nature, demand ...

Contests, grand prizes, and the hot hand

Awarding a grand prize to the player who wins most often in a series of contests links the contests together and makes incentives in the current contest depend on past performance. A lucky player who wins early faces relatively stronger economic incentives ...

Measuring the Performance Enhancement of the LZR Racer Swimsuit

The economic literature on technological improvements of output processes is wide and deep. In a macroeconomic sense, Solow (1956) and Cass (1965) both discussed the effect that technology has on an economy. In a microeconomic sense, Sood and Tellis (2005) ...

Expert Pitches

HB2: one year later

March 20, 2017

With the first anniversary of the passage of North Carolina House Bill 2 (HB2) approaching this...

Pros penalized off the tee at The Masters are more likely to take risks

March 7, 2017

Research by Wake Forest University sports economist Todd McFall suggests that a faction of...

Under threat of NCAA Championship pullouts, HB2 effects compound

February 9, 2017

North Carolina could lose dozens of NCAA championship events if legislation limiting protections...

NBA All-Star Game move: A high-profile hit for Charlotte and N.C.

July 21, 2016

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the league's board of governors may soon make an announcement...

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More Information

Areas of Expertise

  • Technological Change on Economic Decision-Making
  • Sports Economics
  • Economic Implications of Public Policy
  • Economic Litigation
  • Personnell Economics
  • Economics of Education
  • NCAA Tournament Organization

Education

North Carolina State University: Ph.D., Economics

Miami University: B.Ed., Education

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