Contemporary Issues in Sports Economics

Contemporary Issues in Sports Economics

Participation and Professional Team Sports

New Horizons in the Economics of Sport series

Edited by Wladimir Andreff

The development of sports economics has exploded in recent years, and this well-researched and relevant book explores some of the most critical themes. Contemporary Issues in Sports Economics examines topics that have previously received little attention in the literature, such as the determinants and social impacts of sports participation including the link to crime levels. The distinguished authors also discuss some of the less investigated aspects of professional team sports, including: • sports betting, financing and governance; • the impact of low scoring matches on competitive balance and fan appeal in European football; and • the effect on player transfers of a luxury tax on club payrolls in Major League Baseball.

Chapter 8: Is European Football’s Future to Become a Boring Game?

Wladimir Andreff and Gaël Raballand

Subjects: economics and finance, sports


Wladimir Andreff and Gaël Raballand INTRODUCTION In recent years, the proportion of matches ending in a 0–0 draw or a 1–0 win has increased in the five major European football leagues. This increase is most pronounced in the more balanced French league. No- or low-scoring games are of concern if we assume that fans prefer watching matches when more goals are scored. Low goal scoring may lead to lower attendances. If the probability of low goal scoring were to grow in future, might it transform European football leagues into boring sporting events? Might it contribute to a drop in attendances? The next logical, follow-on question is to ask what the main factors or drivers are which contribute to no- or low-scoring games. One explanation would simply be the increased adoption of more defensive playing tactics by teams, a factor which might be exacerbated when a game’s outcome is of greater significance, that is, a match whose outcome may determine a team’s promotion or relegation, given the strong impact of promotion and relegation on future club revenues. Low scoring and defensive tactics may also be triggered by the respective number of points allocated for a win, draw or loss, or by some other football accounting rule to determine the final league standing (goal difference, best defence or best attack criterion).1 Point allocation may act as a strong incentive structure for a club’s strategy. On the other hand, some major drivers of low goal scoring may be viewed...

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