nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2016‒10‒02
four papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. PARX model for football matches predictions By Giovanni Angelini; Luca De Angelis
  2. Off Pitch: Football's Financial Integrity Weaknesses, and How to Strengthen Them By Andrews, Matt; Harrington, Peter
  3. The history of professional road cycling By Jean-François Mignot
  4. Academics vs. Athletics: Career Concerns for NCAA Division I Coaches By Avery, Christopher; Cadman, Brian; Cassar, Gavin

  1. By: Giovanni Angelini (Università di Bologna); Luca De Angelis (Università di Bologna)
    Abstract: We propose an innovative approach to model and predict the outcome of football matches based on the Poisson Autoregression with eXogenous covariates (PARX) model recently proposed by Agosto, Cavaliere, Kristensen and Rahbek (2016). We show that this methodology is particularly suited to model the goals distribution of a football team and provides a good forecast performance that can be exploited to develop a profitable betting strategy. The betting strategy is based on the idea that the odds proposed by the market do not reflect the true probability of the match because they may incorporate also the betting volumes or strategic price settings in order to exploit bettors’ biases. The out-of-sample performance of the PARX model is better than the reference approach by Dixon and Coles (1997). We also evaluate our approach in a simple betting strategy which is applied to the English football Premier League data for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 seasons. The results show that the return from the betting strategy is larger than 35% in all the cases considered and may even exceed 100% if we consider an alternative strategy based on a predetermined threshold which allows to exploit the inefficiency of the betting market.
    Keywords: Sports forecasting, Density forecasts, Count data, Poisson autoregression, Bet- ting market. Previsioni sportive, Previsioni di densità, Dati di conteggio, Autoregressione di Poisson, Mercato delle scommesse.
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Andrews, Matt (Harvard University); Harrington, Peter (Harvard University)
    Abstract: Men's professional football is the biggest sport in the world, producing (by our estimate) US $33 billion a year. All is not well in the sector, however, with regular scandals raising questions about the role of money in the sport. The 2015 turmoil around FIFA is obviously the most well known example, creating a crisis in confidence in the sector. This study examines these questions, and the financial integrity weaknesses they reveal; it also offers ideas to strengthen the weaknesses. The study argues that football's financial integrity weaknesses extend far beyond FIFA. These weaknesses have emerged largely because the sector is dominated by a small elite of clubs, players and owners centered in Europe's top leagues. The thousands of clubs beyond this elite have very little resources, constituting a vast base of 'have-nots' in football's financial pyramid. This pyramid developed in recent decades, fuelled by concentrated growth in new revenue sources (like sponsorships, and broadcasting). The growth has also led to increasingly complex transactions--in player transfers, club ownership and financing (and more)--and an expansion in opportunities for illicit practices like match-fixing, money laundering and human trafficking. We argue that football's governing bodies--including FIFA--helped establish this pyramid. We explore the structural weaknesses of this pyramid by looking at five pillars of financial integrity (using data drawn from UEFA, FIFA, clubs, primary research, and interviews). In the first pillar of Financial Transparency and Literacy we find that a vast majority of the world's clubs and governing bodies publish no financial data, leaving a vast dark space with no transparency. In the second pillar of Financial Sustainability we estimate that a majority of global clubs and governing bodies are at 'medium to high risk' of financial failure. We find, additionally, that European tax debts have grown despite Financial Fair Play, and confederations and FIFA contribute to a pattern of weak Fiscal Responsibility. We then create a new metric of Financial Concentration and find that the football sector is at 'high risk' of over-concentration, which poses existential questions for many clubs and even leagues. In the final pillar of Social Responsibility and Moral Reputation, we find that football's governing bodies face a crisis of legitimacy stemming from a failure to tackle moral turpitude, set standards and regulate effectively. We suggest a set of reforms to re-structure FIFA in particular, separating its functions and stressing its regulatory role.
    Date: 2016–01
  3. By: Jean-François Mignot (GEMASS - Groupe d'Etude des Méthodes de l'Analyse Sociologique de la Sorbonne - UP4 - Université Paris-Sorbonne - FMSH - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Why did cycling become professional as early as the late 19th century, while other sports (such as rugby) and other sport events (such as the Olympic Games) remained amateur until the 1980s? Why are the organizers of the most important cycling races private companies? To what extent have bicycle races changed since the late 19th century? And how does cycling reflect long-term economic changes? The history of professional road cycling helps to answer these questions and to understand many related phenomena. This chapter provides a long-term historical perspective on (1) professional road cycling’s economic agents, i.e. the public, race organizers, team sponsors and riders, and the relationships among them; (2) cycling’s governing body, the International Cycling Union; and (3) professional cycling’s final product, i.e. the show of bicycle races. The chapter focuses more specifically on the history of male professional road cycling in Western Europe since the late-19th century. It is founded on both an analysis of quantitative time series of the most important races and a review of the existing literature on the history of professional cycling, whether economic history, institutional history, cultural history or sport history.
    Keywords: Sports History,Cycling,Europe,Tour de France,Giro d'Italia,Vuelta a Espana,Cycling Race,International Cycling Union
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Avery, Christopher (Harvard University); Cadman, Brian (University of Utah); Cassar, Gavin (INSEAD, Fontainebleau)
    Abstract: We analyze the promotions and firings of NCAA Division 1 college basketball and college football coaches to assess whether these coaches are rewarded for the academic performance of their players in promotion and retention decisions. We find that an increase in Academic Progress Rate, as measured by the NCAA, for a college team in either sport significantly reduces the probability that the coach is fired at the end of the season. We find little to no evidence that an increase in the Academic Progress Rate enhances the chances of advancement (in the form of outside job offers) for these coaches.
    JEL: I20 I23 J24 M51
    Date: 2016–03

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