Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Financial Restrictions and Competitive Balance in Sports Leagues

Author(s): Vsevolod Grabar and Konstantin Sonin

Publication Date: September 2018

Keyword(s): financial regulation, competitive balance, financial regulation, investment tournaments and UEFA Financial Fair Play

Programme Area(s): Industrial Organization and Public Economics

Abstract: A dramatic surge in revenues from TV broadcasting and brand-selling forced modern football clubs, simultaneously involved in domestic and European competitions, to operate in a new environment. In response, the Union of European Football Associations introduced the Financial Fair Play Regulations, a set of financial regulations that affect all major European clubs. To assess the impact of financial restrictions (e.g., salary caps) on the default risk for individual clubs and competitive balance, we construct a game-theoretic model where clubs make decisions on the amounts they borrow and spend on the team. The impact of financial restrictions on competitive balance is positive; the total amount of debt also decreases at equilibrium. Finally, we show that financial restrictions create more incentives to invest in second-tier clubs compared to the situation in which there are no financial regulations.

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Bibliographic Reference

Grabar, V and Sonin, K. 2018. 'Financial Restrictions and Competitive Balance in Sports Leagues'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.