nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2017‒02‒12
two papers chosen by
João Carlos Correia Leitão
Universidade da Beira Interior

  1. Competitive Balance and Assortative Matching in the German Bundesliga By Warnke, Arne Jonas; Sittl, Roman
  2. Corruption in sports represents an important challenge to their integrity. Corruption can take many forms, including match fixing by players, referees, or team officials. Match fixing can be difficult to detect. We analyze variation in bet volume on Betfair, an on-line betting exchange, for evidence of abnormal patterns associated with specific referees who officiated matches. An analysis of 1,251 Bundesliga 1 football matches from 2010/11 to 2014/15 reveals evidence that bet volume in the Betfair markets for over 2.5 and under 2.5 goals scored in these matches was systematically higher for four referees relative to matches officiated by other referees. By Christian Deutscher; Eugen Dimant; Brad Humphreys

  1. By: Warnke, Arne Jonas; Sittl, Roman
    Abstract: In this paper we consider trends in the distribution of player talent across association football clubs over time. Player talent is the most important prerequisite for team success in professional sports leagues and changes in players' assortativeness in regard to the clubs they play for may arguably be an important factor for changes in competitive balance. We offer a new approach for measuring player talent and its distribution - the partial correlation of each player with the goal margin. We use this measure to analyze the degree of competitive balance over time. This approach enables us to examine how player mobility drives competitive balance over time. Empirical results are based on 19 seasons of the first two divisions of the German Bundesliga as well as domestic cup games. Our results show a decrease in competitive balance over time; better teams tend to attract increasingly better players. We show that this is driven by an increasingly unequal inter-divisional distribution of teams, coaches and players, as well as increasing assortativeness in the 1st Bundesliga. We further demonstrate that player transfers between Bundesliga teams results in assortative matching between players and teams. These domestic transfers do not, however, explain the reduction in competitive balance over time. Furthermore, we show that UEFA Champions League payments may have contributed to the reduction in competitive balance over the last two decades.
    JEL: J44 J63 L83
    Date: 2016
  2. By: Christian Deutscher; Eugen Dimant (Philosophy, Politics and Economics, University of Pennsylvania); Brad Humphreys
    Keywords: Corruption, Betting exchange, Football, Referee bias
    JEL: D73 K42 L8 Z2
    Date: 2017–01

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