nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2022‒11‒07
five papers chosen by
Humberto Barreto
DePauw University

  1. The effect of monitoring and crowds on crime and law enforcement: A natural experiment from European football By Brad R. Humphreys; Alexander Marsella; Levi Perez
  2. Vertical Integration and Competitive Balance in Professional Sports: Evidence from Minor League Baseball By Qi Ge; Brad R. Humphreys; Alexander Eisert
  3. Willingness to pay for policies to reduce health risks from COVID-19: Evidence from U.S. professional sports By Brad R. Humphreys; Gary A. Wagner; John C. Whitehead; Pamela Wicker
  4. Cultural homophily and collaboration in superstar teams By Gabor Bekes; Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano
  5. The Impact of Visibility on School Athletic Finances: An Empirical Analysis using Google Trends By Behera, Sarthak; Sadana, Divya

  1. By: Brad R. Humphreys (West Virginia University, Department of Economics); Alexander Marsella (West Virginia University, Department of Economics); Levi Perez (University of Oviedo)
    Abstract: Technological advancements like the presence of smart phones and body cameras have led to increased monitoring of police, but little evidence exists on their impact. We address these problems using data on fouls from football matches in five European football leagues over six seasons. This period contains exogenous changes in monitoring rule enforcers through introduction of Video Assistant Referee review and limited "bystanders" from Covid-19 restrictions. Results from difference-in-differences models estimated separately for each league indicate that both events influenced the number of fouls called with substantial heterogeneity across leagues and home/away teams.
    Keywords: crime, police monitoring, football fouls
    JEL: H41 K42 Z20
    Date: 2022–10
  2. By: Qi Ge (Vassar College); Brad R. Humphreys (West Virginia University, Department of Economics); Alexander Eisert (Vassar College)
    Abstract: Major League Baseball (MLB) teams regularly call up players from their Minor League Baseball (MiLB) affliates to fulfill roster needs. This paper utilizes a manually collected panel of player call-ups between 1946 and 2019 and studies their impact on competitive balance in the minor leagues. Our results indicate an overall positive relationship between call-ups and competitive balance in the MiLB, with the pro-competitive effect primarily driven by the AA leagues and not AAA leagues. We also  find suggestive evidence of the effect being likely explained by the promotion of MiLB players to MLB, rather than the demotion of MLB players to MiLB. Our findings provide important policy implications regarding vertical relationships and human capital development in professional sports.
    Keywords: vertical integration, human capital development, competitive balance, minor league baseball
    JEL: L22 Z21
    Date: 2022–08
  3. By: Brad R. Humphreys (West Virginia University, Department of Economics); Gary A. Wagner (University of Louisiana at Lafayette); John C. Whitehead (Appalachian State University); Pamela Wicker (Bielefeld University)
    Abstract: Airborne transmission of COVID-19 increased the need for health policies to reduce transmission in congregate settings associated with minimal risk before the pandemic. While a large literature estimates tradeoffs between policies designed to reduce negative health outcomes, no empirical research addresses consumer willingness to pay for health policies designed to reduce airborne virus transmission. Using survey data from 1,381 fans of professional sports teams, we estimate consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for reduced likelihood of coronavirus transmission through mask and social distancing policies using a stated preference approach. The results indicate increased attendance likelihood if the venue requires masks and limits attendance, with significant heterogeneity in WTP across risk scenarios and sports. We characterize consumers as casual fans who prefer a mask requirement but are indifferent to capacity constraints, strong fans who are anti-maskers and prefer capacity constraints, and a second group of casual fans with positive WTP under both mask and limited capacity requirements. Casual fans’ WTP for masking, $38 per NBA game attended, is more than double their WTP for capacity constraints only. Strong fans’ WTP for attending capacity constrained NBA games was $490, more than 400% higher than the pre-pandemic average WTP of $105.
    Keywords: Discrete choice experiment; Stated preferences; Willingness-to-pay; Health policy
    JEL: I12 M31 Q51 Z20
    Date: 2022–10
  4. By: Gabor Bekes; Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano
    Abstract: One may reasonably think that cultural preferences affect collaboration in multinational teams in general, but not in superstar teams of professionals at the top of their industry. We reject this hypothesis by creating and analyzing an exhaustive dataset recording all 10.7 million passes by 7 thousand professional European football players from 138 countries fielded by all 154 teams competing in the top 5 men leagues over 8 sporting seasons, together with full information on players' and teams' characteristics. We use a discrete choice model of players' passing behavior as a baseline to separately identify collaboration due to cultural preferences (`choice homophily') from collaboration due to opportunities (`induced homophily'). The outcome we focus on is the `pass rate', defined as the count of passes from a passer to a receiver relative to the passer's total passes when both players are fielded together in a half-season. We find strong evidence of choice homophily. Relative to the baseline, player pairs of same culture have a 2.42 percent higher pass rate due to choice, compared with a 6.16 percent higher pass rate due to both choice and opportunity. This shows that choice homophily based on culture is pervasive and persistent even in teams of very high skill individuals with clear common objectives and aligned incentives, who are involved in interactive tasks that are well defined, readily monitored and not particularly language intensive.
    Keywords: organizations, teams, culture, homophily, diversity, language, globalization, big data, panel data, sport
    Date: 2022–10–07
  5. By: Behera, Sarthak; Sadana, Divya
    Abstract: Many papers in the past literature provide evidence on the impact of athletic performance on various school outcomes. This paper uses the weekly college football poll by the organization Associated Press (AP), to investigate the effect of a college team ranked in top 25 on various school outcomes such as revenues and expenses of school, coaches’ salary, and enrollment. The college football poll also known as AP poll conducts weekly voting to assign the teams certain points based on which these teams are ranked. The results are twofold: First, I verify the visibility of a school using google trends by exploiting the discontinuity arising due to the points of 25th ranked versus 26th ranked team. And second, the results provide evidence of the impact of this visibility of being in top 25 on positive school outcomes.
    Keywords: College Football; Google Trends; School Finances; Enrollment
    JEL: I21 I22 Z00
    Date: 2022–06

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