The economics of sport

For around 30 years, sports economics has been growing as a discipline around the Western world, and economic issues in sport have become increasingly important. At the same time, economics research uses more and more sports data, particularly for testing theoretical hypotheses. Consequently, sports economics is now published in several specialized academic journals.

Soccer occupies a privileged place in this field: Current sports economics research is in large part dedicated to “the beautiful game”. This is mainly explained by the fact that soccer is the most popular sport in Europe and hence the quantity of available data is larger than for any other sport. Soccer perfectly illustrates current research into the economics of sport.

“Football” questions are numerous and raised in different fields of economics: the growth of inequality among clubs, championships and players; game theory to decide whether to take a penalty kick; psychological economics to decide whether or not to go first in a penalty shoot-out; indicators of inequality of the competitive equilibrium of championships; rational addiction models to quantify supporter expenditure and to analyse specific factors (e.g., passion, uncertainty of results); the specific business logics of soccer teams (victories/profit); analysis of individual productivity within teams; the specificity of the labour market for players and trainers; the impact of social norms on individual and collective behaviour on the pitch; voting theory to decide on the best player, etc.