The Barcelona Institute of Economics (IEB) has just presented the IEB Report 1/2023: Soccer & Economics, which carries out a detailed analysis of sports-related issues from an economic viewpoint. The authors make careful use of the analytical and empirical tools of the social sciences to examine issues in the world of sport that are often overlooked.
For example, the public tend to think that major sporting events are always a wonderful idea for the organizing cities and countries. This IEB Report reflects the consensus among the majority of economists who have studied major sporting events: namely, that these events tend to be a particularly bad business for the countries and cities that hold them. The world’s sports governing bodies are unregulated global monopolies that use their massive power for their own interests. If Barcelona ’92 was an exception, Qatar 2022 has been the clearest example of this dynamic.
In addition to the organization of major sports events, this IEB Report also explores two other issues: the impact of changing coach in mid-season (specifically, that of Ronald Koeman at FC Barcelona) and the design of the rules of the game. These articles reflect a long-standing current of economic research focusing on a popular phenomenon such as modern football, where fans exert both an economic and a political influence. The evidence provided sheds light on issues such as populism and corruption.