Tag Archives: Soccer

Do New Stadiums Lead to an Increase in Business?

Unless you’re familiar with the literature in this arena (no pun intended) or you know about Betteridge’s law of headlines, the title of this post is actually still an unresolved question for you. Well, I won’t delay the inevitable: according to research published earlier this year, the answer is no — new stadiums do no lead to an increase in business.

There are two things I want to talk about as it relates to this research. The first is Richard Florida. If this area is an interest of yours, there’s a good chance that you’ve come across him. Florida has been a professor for the last 20+ years and has written extensively on cities. Here’s a post I found from him within the last year that talks about the very thing that the journal article discussed:

The overwhelming conclusion of decades of economic research on the subject is that using public funds to subsidize wealthy sports franchises makes zero economic sense and is a giant waste of taxpayer money. A wide array of studies have shown that professional teams add virtually no income to local economies. In fact, some of them find that large subsidies actually have a negative effect, taking money out of the local economy. Aside from the jobs generated by actually building the stadium, most jobs inside the stadium—selling food and beer or working at team concessions—are low-paying temp jobs. It’s even worse for football stadiums, which are used for games at most a dozen times a year, and maybe a few more times for concerts or large events. Public economic development dollars can be put to much better use on things besides subsidizing sports teams and their wealthy owners.

Ultimately, the burden of public subsides falls disproportionately on small cities that are the least able to bear the cost. For example, a $200 million public subsidy for a new stadium ends up costing a small city like Santa Clara roughly $1,650 per resident, compared to just $50 a person for L.A. And, of course, teams in bigger cities, with their bigger markets and more revenue, often do not need subsidies at all.

The reason I raise Florida’s name is because I was surprised that I didn’t see his name mentioned in the journal article. To be fair, I don’t think that Florida has done any primary research in this domain, but I would have thought that even in the opening introduction or literature review that there may have been some reference to Florida’s constant discussion of literature like this.

Anyhow, the second thing I wanted to talk about is something that might not be measurable. Well, it might not be measurable in a simple way. As a former amateur athlete, I have a special place in my heart for sports. Certainly, there are plenty of things that one could classify as “wrong” about sports, but part of me still wants to defend it/them and I’ll be upfront: that might be part of what’s going on with this section of this post.

Something I didn’t see in the article (and probably something I wouldn’t expect to find in any well-written article) is a measure of (or discussion of?) the positive externalities that result from a city’s team winning the championship or even the spillover effects from the possible positive externalities. Now that’s a tortured sentence. I’m talking about how the residents of a city feel after their team wins the championship (in a given sport). Naturally, not everyone would be watching (or care), but for those that are fans of the team that wins, there would certainly be elevated levels of joy and happiness immediately following the victory. If there were studies done on this, I suspect that there might be comparisons to those who have won the lottery in that a couple of months after, lottery winners return to a similar level of satisfaction/happiness that they had prior to the lottery win.

I wonder, though, could we measure the economic gains for a city from this positive externality and the resulting spillover effect (in this case, let’s say the spillover effect would be the “pay it forward”-ness of joy from the fans of the team to the non-fans that the fans will be interacting with in the weeks following the city’s team’s victory). Even if there is a tangible effect that can be measured, I’m sure that any reasonable cost-benefit analysis would still conclude that a new stadium isn’t worth it for a city.

ResearchBlogging.orgHarger, K., Humphreys, B., & Ross, A. (2016). Do New Sports Facilities Attract New Businesses? Journal of Sports Economics, 17 (5), 483-500 DOI: 10.1177/1527002516641168

Who Wants to Play Sports in 122° Weather, in the Middle East, in the Summer?

A couple of days ago, I saw a headline that the FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, was going to ask the executive committee to consider moving the 2022 World Cup, set to be played in Qatar (a country that borders Saudi Arabia), to the Winter. It seems to me that this should have been considered when Qatar was chosen as the host back in December (is that ironic?) of 2010.

I did some checking and since there’s been a World Cup for soccer (or football, depending on your geographic orientation), the event has always taken place in the “summer.” Every World Cup happens in the month of June or July. A few times, it started in May, but it has always, at a minimum, gone into June. Some have taken place solely in July. None of the previous 19 World Cups (dating back to 1934) have taken place in any of the other months. So, it would seem, considering moving the 2022 World Cup to the Winter would be unprecedented.

Adding another layer to this debate is that the English Premier League (one of the best soccer/football leagues in the world), isn’t interested in having the World Cup move to the Winter as it will affect their schedule. Not only will it affect one year’s schedule, but it’s likely to affect two year’s schedules. And, it will have an affect on broadcasting contracts.

As I read more and more about this story, I’m still flabbergasted that something like this wasn’t considered. It seems that someone, somewhere along the line should have thought about playing sports in 122° weather, in the Middle East, in the Summer. Along those same lines of due diligence or “thinking ahead,” I remember reading something recently about concerns that it won’t be cold enough in 2014 for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Let’s hope that those concerns aren’t realized.

Which Type of [Soccer] Goal Do You Prefer: Individual Effort or One-Timers?

[Editor’s note: I didn’t realize that I was missing an ‘R’ in the title until after this post was already published. As a result, the permalink to this page does not include an ‘R’ in “one-timer,” but the title now does.]

First, I want to recognize that most of the world refers to “soccer” as football and I respect that. Since I’ve grown up in the West, I’m still used to calling it soccer. With that out of the way, I thought I would ask all of you which kind of “goal” you prefer: goals that required a great deal of individual effort or goals that were the result of one-timers.

Right now, FIFA is hosting a poll to help select the “favourite” goal of 2012. I put favourite in quotes not because of the spelling, but because I think it’s important to name the measure by which these goals are being voted. I re-read the paragraph a couple of times to make sure that it wasn’t referred to as the “best” goal or the most “athletic” goal or something else like that.

So, after watching the 10 goals, I noticed a bit of a divide. About half of the goals seemed to happen as a result of a great deal of individual effort. Similarly, about half of the goals seemed to happen as a result of a one-timer. The voting closes on November 29, 2012. There are a number of confounding variables here (the first of which would be the number of “fans” for a given team or a given player), but I think it’ll be fun to see which goals make the top 3. It’s not specifically stated when, but after the voting closes on the first poll, at some point, FIFA will re-post the three goals that earned the most votes. We could say that if there are two goals that are one-timers, fans prefer one-timers and if there are two goals that are “individual effort,” then fans prefer individual effort.

Again, this is not scientific, but I think it’ll be fun. Let me know in the comments — which kinds of goals do you think will have more votes?

It didn’t seem necessary (or right) to embed all 10 of the goals on this post. So, if you’re interested, head on over to the FIFA page to check them out.

Is it Time for More International Sports Events?

I’m that I haven’t written more about , but I’ve got a couple of posts (including this one) coming on the subject.

Having been born and raised in North America, the sports that are ‘native’ to me are very different from the sports that would be native to me had I been born and raised in a different part of the world. I grew up watching the (hockey) and (baseball). I played baseball all the way up to (and for part of) university. The weird thing to me is that when I visit places abroad, it’s not that these sports are foreign (or looked down upon), but that these sports aren’t played and revered in the same way that they are in North America.

For example, when I was for a few months, it was all about the (rugby). In fact, the country kind of “shuts down” when the All Blacks are playing. This doesn’t usually happen in North America. Well, maybe more accurately, it doesn’t usually happen in the US. I know that it definitely happens in Canada. Remember the in Vancouver? More specifically, remember the game? (22 million people of the 33 million living in Canada) watched Sidney Crosby score the overtime winner.

This whole post was sparked by a couple of ‘global’ sports events. The first, the . I happened to be in Munich on the day of the game (I’ve never seen so many uniformed and undercover police in one place!) From what I understand, the UEFA Champions League Final is like the Superbowl in the US, but only 5 times . More noteworthy for me is that the Champions League Final usually draws more viewers internationally. This is due, in part, to the teams that play in this league not all being from the same country. Nonetheless, when I’m watching a game like this, I feel like there’s more of a shared community. I can imagine people in Spain watching the game at the same time that people in Russia and Australia are watching the game. Of course, that may be the case with the Superbowl, but I don’t feel it as much.

The second sports event that helped spark this post was . Having an Italian lineage (my last name is STANGHINI), I feel a sense of connection to the country and by extension, the . I was really excited when they tied Spain during the group play and then a little worried when they tied Croatia. They went on to beat Ireland to advance to the knockout stage where they then beat England on PKs and handily defeated Germany setting up a rematch of their first game in the group play with Spain in the final. The game seemed close in the 1st half (even though Spain was up 2-0), but once , Spain dominated control of the ball.

Both of these events made me think more about sports on a global level. They made me think (and wish?) for more coverage and (excitement!) from North American countries of international sports events. Yes, baseball is fun and it’s great to see the Blue Jays play the Red Sox or the Yankees, but I really liked the when Cuba played the Dominican Republic or the USA played Japan. I really like it when there’s more of an international engagement. Yes, I enjoy a good Leafs game, especially if it’s against the Canadiens, but I get even more excited to watch a Canada-USA game or a Canada-Russia game. The one problem I can see with all of this is that North American countries are simply responding to their customers. That is, the customer wants to watch the NFL or the NHL, so that’s what gets put on the .

Although, there has been a decided shift to show more international sports events on TV. For instance, I notice that there is a lot more coverage of cricket on Rogers Sportsnet. Maybe North American countries are moving in this direction. Only time will tell.

Behavior of Sports Fan(atic)s Rival Behavior of Religious Fanatics

A couple of days ago as I was driving into town, I heard the guy on the radio talking about some sort of . Given the , my attention wasn’t immediately tuned into what was happening. As the reporter expanded upon the story, I was appalled. The reporter proceeded to tell the listeners that one, , 42-year old and San Francisco Giants’ fan, is showing signs of brain damage after having been severely beaten by, Los Angeles Dodgers fans.

The history of violence involving fans is well documented, and typically, violence in spectator sports is more closely associated with football (or soccer for those folks in the US and Canada). The last incident of “fan violence” in baseball was in August of 2009, when a at and hit, Philadelphia Phillies centerfielder, Shane Victorino. The outfielder had some beer land on him, which is unacceptable of course, but other than that, nothing too serious.

Some of the more recent incidents of violence include a match between Italy and Serbia in October of 2010. The start of the game was delayed over half an hour. Once the game got underway, before they were ten minutes into the 1st half, a flare was thrown onto the field causing more rioting. The game was called and one team was later awarded the victory based on the fans that were causing trouble.  In March of 2010 during a game, climbed over the glass, into the bench of the opposing team, and proceeded to strike one of the goalies over the head several times with a stick. The goalie had to leave the bench area, as blood was running down his face, and he was later diagnosed with a concussion. If you’re interested, there’s a .

On the face of these myriad incidents of violence by fans in sports, I can’t help but think of the true meaning of the word fan. The word fan, comes from the word fanatic, which means, “. . .” In my opinion, these fans are definitely exhibiting “extreme enthusiasm” in support of their team. In the definition I provided, I left out five words that appear after the word zeal. These five words: “as in religion or politics.”

When I hear about these horrendous acts of violence committed in the “name of one’s team,” I can’t help but make the connection to another brand of fanaticism — religious fanaticism. After the events of the world was led to believe that these attacks were committed by religious fanatics (and that may well be the case, but I don’t think anyone can be absolutely certain of any of the explanations for what happened). Since then, opening up the or the to find an article about someone killing in the name of religion has become somewhat normalized because of how often it happens. Is there really a big difference between religious fanaticism and sports fanaticism?

If there is, to me, the difference is negligible, and I for one, think this is awful. Fans identify with their teams so much so that they feel compelled to harm another human being! I was an athlete and I can tell you, after the game is over, life still goes on. You go on and eat your meals, sleep, read books, and do all of the other things that people do. To some fans, when the game ends, their life, in a way, ends. I think this kind of attachment to sports is unhealthy. Similarly, I think the attachment to religion that is displayed by those who believe they are doing right by their religion by killing in the name of their deity is also a little bit too far. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the thinking that goes into their decision and prosper in the afterlife, but it is my opinion, that there is never a valid reason to kill another human being, (or one’s self for that matter).