Soccer and Money

Have you ever wondered how the Gini coefficient of La Liga and the EPL compare? If so Soccer and Money (2015) by Stefan Szymanski is definitely the book for you. If you’re interested in soccer and economic data there is loads in the book about the domination of leagues by particular teams, how teams become insolvent and disappear and how this compares to normal companies and many other topics related to how sport is organised.

There are chapters on players and squad value, stadiums and revenue, debt, ownership of the big clubs, strategy of ownership, Insolvency, how soccer compares to US sport and regulation of budgets of clubs.

The book points out how dominance of a few clubs exists even in tiny poor leagues and how even prior to the massive increase in money due to pay TV revenues in soccer since the 1980s there was dominance of a few clubs in most leagues. Szymanski points out that revenue and player pay is very closely related to league position and how ‘moneyballing’ soccer is very difficult. He also points out that salary caps wouldn’t work in Europe and that league mergers between the Dutch and Belgian leagues and Scandinavian leagues would make financial sense.

For anyone interested in economics and sport the book is a great read. There is lots of data and lots of interesting insights that have been obtained from the data that are well worth thinking about.

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