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Sport Economics conference: insights to help coaches, managers, athletes and governments

22 August 2016
Sport Economics conference

Do cycling fans really care about doping scandals? Are women or men better team managers? Which transfer window in football is the best time to contract new players? Is government spending effective to increase sport participation? Are mid-week football matches a disadvantage for the home team?

74 speakers from eighteen countries will discuss 75 topics on sport economics during the ESEA European Conference on Sport Economics to be held at the University of Groningen from 31 August - 2 September 2016.

New insights

“Economic theories supported by quantitative models are very much applicable to sports”, says ESEA conference organizer Ruud Koning, professor of Sport Economics at the University of Groningen. “We get more and more access to statistical sports data, which allows us to model and calculate questions related to sports. Our new insights are useful for coaches, managers, individual athletes, governments, companies and others .”

Buying and selling of football players

Football teams are all about human capital. Keynote speaker Robert Simmons will present different effects on a club’s performance. The departure of experienced players appears to be detrimental to team performance even if the departing athletes are replaced by new players with the same market value. Moreover, players signed up during the “transfer window” in January contribute less to the teams’ performance than equally expensive players signed up during the summer break.

Male and female managers

Female team managers do not perform worse than their male counterparts. This is borne out by data on female and male managers in three top European women football leagues and the largest North American women basketball league. Additionally, female coaches perform significantly better when they have more specialized experience than male team managers. Researchers Helmut M. Dietl, Carlos Gomez and Cornel Nesseler say their results provide implications for industries, companies, and clubs that oppose employing female team managers. It is a fact that coaching in sports mostly involves the same tasks as managing in industry: selection, coordination and motivation of team members.

Doping scandals

How does the general public perceive national heroes and doping scandals? Researchers Arne Feddersen and Armin Rott use a data set of TV audiences in Germany during 23 editions of the Tour de France. In the period from 1993-2015 Germany experienced both national pride and scandals, such as the case of Jan Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997 and was successful until he was involved in a doping scandal in 2006. Is there any effect on the size of the TV audience? This will tell us whether the audience cares about doping scandals or not.

Midweek matches

‘Home advantage’ is a well-known phenomenon in football. Alex Krumer and Michael Lechner found that this effect is lost when matches are played midweek instead of in weekends. The fact that midweek matches are unevenly allocated among teams, the actual schedules of the league favour teams with fewer home games in midweek, which may be considered as an unfair advantage.

Sports promotion by governments

To enhance participation governments invest both directly (in sports facilities or via club funding), and indirectly (by investing in education, health and transport). Researchers Soeren Dallmeyer, Pamela Wicker and Christoph Breuer discovered that policy effectiveness is different per age group. Investments in education and public transport do have a positive effect on sports participation in 20- to 49 year-olds, but not in adults over 65. The age group of 50-64 is positively influenced by investments in facilities and education, but negatively by better public transport and government investments in alternatives (substitutes) such as museums or theatres.

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