nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2016‒04‒04
six papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Seeding the UEFA Champions League Participants: Evaluation of the Reform By Dmitry Dagaev; Vladimir Yu. Rudyak
  2. The Determinants Of The TV Demand Of Soccer: Empirical Evidence On Italian Serie A For The Period 2008-2015 By Caruso, Raul; Addesa, Francesco; Di Domizio, Marco
  3. Disciplinary Sanction and Social Pressure in English Premiership Soccer By Barry Reilly; Robert Witt
  4. Leisure and Learning - Activities and Their Effects on Child Skill Development By Peter Funk; Thorsten Kemper
  5. Strategic Behavior in Exhaustive Ballot Voting: What Can We Learn from the FIFA World Cup 2018 and 2022 Host Elections? By Daniel Karabekyan
  6. Biases in Voting - The Case of the FIFA Best Player Award By Tom Coupe; Olivier Gergaud; Abdul Noury

  1. By: Dmitry Dagaev (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Vladimir Yu. Rudyak (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: We evaluate the sporting effects of the seeding system reform in the major football club tournament -- the Champions League -- organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). In the UEFA Champions League, before the 2015-16 season, the teams were seeded in the group stage with respect to their ratings. Starting from the 2015-16 season, national champions of the Top-7 countries are seeded in the first pot, whereas other teams are seeded by their rating as before. We propose a probabilistic model for predicting the score of a single match in UEFA tournaments as well as the whole UEFA season. This model uses clubs' ratings as inputs. Applying Monte-Carlo simulations, we show that the expected rating of the UEFA Champions League winner, as well as the sum of the finalists' ratings, slightly decreased after the reform. At the same time, the difference in the finalists' ratings, which is a measure of competitive balance, increased. The UEFA Europa League became stronger and less balanced. We check the robustness of the results by introducing local fluctuations in the clubs ratings. Also, we study which national associations took advantage of the reform. For seeding rules before and after the reform, we estimate the transition matrix (pij), where pij is the probability of i-th strongest national association moving to j-th position after the season. The effect of reform on a single national association measured by the change in probability to increase or decrease the association's UEFA rank is not more than 3%
    Keywords: tournament; design; seeding; competitive balance; UEFA Champions League; Monte-Carlo simulations
    JEL: C44
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Caruso, Raul; Addesa, Francesco; Di Domizio, Marco
    Abstract: This paper investigates the determinants of TV audience for Italian soccer. After a review of the literature concerning the key factors driving the demand for sport, we analyse SKY’s audience figures for 7 Serie A seasons (from 2008-09 to 2014-15). Applying different OLS specifications, we show that Italian viewers have a committed behaviour and outcome uncertainty does not have a significant impact on TV audience. In addition, when choosing whether to watch a match of teams other than their favourite team, Italian consumers appear to be particularly attracted by both the aggregate quantity of talent present and by matches involving teams at the top of the table. This suggests that, in the Italian context, an increase in the TV demand is mainly driven by an enhancement in the performance of top clubs and in the quality of the entertainment rather than in competitive balance.
    Keywords: Broadcasting; Soccer; TV Demand; Uncertainty of Outcome hypothesis; Talent; Serie A.
    JEL: D12 D7 L25 L83
    Date: 2016–03
  3. By: Barry Reilly (Department of Economics, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9RF, UK); Robert Witt (School of Economics, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK)
    Abstract: This paper uses player/match level data drawn from five playing seasons of the English Premiership League (EPL) to test for the presence of a refereeing susceptibility to social pressure in the application of soccer’s commonest sanction, the yellow disciplinary card. Using both player-specific fixed and random effects models, tentative support for the proposition is uncovered. The estimated effect, however, is found to be negligible in magnitude and unlikely to influence match outcomes in a meaningful way.
    Keywords: Disciplinary Sanction, Referees, Social pressure
    JEL: C23 D81 L83
    Date: 2016–03
  4. By: Peter Funk; Thorsten Kemper
    Abstract: This paper studies how variations in leisure time allocation help explain the variations in school children's cognitive skills. We use representative data on the time use of American children from the Child Development Supplement (CDS) to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Our findings suggest that 1) including time use data significantly contributes to explaining the variation in math and reading test scores; 2) in a relative ranking of the effect of raising the time spent on a given activity on the math test score music is placed at the top, followed by learning, reading, sports, watching television, attending school and sleep (in descending order). For the reading test score music ranks first again and reading second, before learning, school, television, sports and sleep; 3) when comparing the effect of child activities with that of parental investments on test scores in the PSID data, it turns out that activities have no less explanatory power than investments, proxied by an established investment measure, with higher explanatory power for the production of math skills.
    Keywords: Child development, leisure time activities
    JEL: D13 I21 J13 J24
    Date: 2016–02–08
  5. By: Daniel Karabekyan (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: There are many allegations about whether FIFA world cup host countries were chosen honestly or not. We analyse the results of the FIFA Executive Committee voting and reconstruct the set of possible voting situations compatible with the results of each stage. In both elections, we identify strategic behaviour and then analyse the results for honest voting under all compatible voting situations. For the 2018 FIFA world cup election Russia is chosen for all profiles. For the 2022 elections the result depends on the preferences of the FIFA president Sepp Blatter who served as a tie-breaker. If Sepp Blatter prefers Qatar over South Korea and Japan, then Qatar would have been chosen for all profiles. Otherwise there are the possibility that South Korea or Japan would have been chosen as the 2022 host country. Another fact is that if we consider possible vote buying, then it is shown, that the bribery of at least 2 committee members would have been required to guarantee winning of Russia bid and at least 1 member for Qatar.
    Keywords: exhaustive ballot, FIFA elections, manipulation
    JEL: D71
  6. By: Tom Coupe (Kyiv School of Economics); Olivier Gergaud (KEDGE Business School); Abdul Noury (New York University Abu Dhabi)
    Abstract: In this paper, we show that voters are biased but not strategic when voting for the FIFA best player award, the most prestigious award in soccer. We find that ‘similarity’ biases are substantial. Voters are four times more likely to vote for candidates with whom they share the national team or the same league team, and three times more likely to vote for a candidate with whom they share the same nationality. Despite presence of biases, we find little evidence for ‘strategic voting’, as voters who vote for one leading candidate (Messi) are more, rather than less, likely to also vote for his main competitor (Ronaldo). We also show that the impact of these biases on the total number of votes a candidate receives is fairly limited, as all candidates are likely to benefit (and lose) from these biases to a similar extent. The biases highlighted here could affect the outcome of the FIFA best player competition in the rare occasions where the difference in quality between the leading candidates is tiny.
    Keywords: bias; voting; football
    JEL: D72
    Date: 2016–03

This nep-spo issue is ©2016 by João Carlos Correia Leitão. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.