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Making Money Out of Football


  • Stephanie Leach
  • Stefan Szymanski


type="main" xml:id="sjpe12065-abs-0001"> In the US, most economists argue that professional sports teams are profit-maximising businesses, but it is a widely held view in Europe that professional football clubs are not run on a profit-maximising basis. This belief has important implications for the impact of widely-advocated policy measures, such as revenue sharing. This paper looks at the performance of 16 English football clubs that acquired a stock exchange listing in the mid-1990s. If the European story is true, we should have observed a shift toward profit-maximising behaviour at these clubs, under the assumption that investors were attracted to these football clubs to earn a positive return. This paper finds no evidence of any shift in the behaviour of these 16 clubs after flotation. This result is consistent with the view that football clubs in England have been much more oriented toward profit objectives than is normally assumed.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephanie Leach & Stefan Szymanski, 2015. "Making Money Out of Football," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 62(1), pages 25-50, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scotjp:v:62:y:2015:i:1:p:25-50

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    Cited by:

    1. Paloma Escamilla-Fajardo & Juan Manuel Núñez-Pomar & Vanessa Ratten & Josep Crespo, 2020. "Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Soccer: Web of Science Bibliometric Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(11), pages 1-22, June.
    2. Daniel Plumley & Rob Wilson & Robbie Millar & Simon Shibli, 2019. "Howzat? The Financial Health of English Cricket: Not Out, Yet," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-17, February.
    3. N. A. Osokin, 2018. "Win vs. Profit maximization: optimal strategy for managing organizational performance of russian football clubs," Strategic decisions and risk management, Real Economy Publishing House.
    4. Marco Di Domizio & Lorenzo Neri & Giambattista Rossi & Antonella Russo, 2019. "Sport O Business? Il Calcio-Mercato Si Rivela," Rivista di Diritto ed Economia dello Sport, Centro di diritto e business dello Sport, vol. 15(2), pages 121-144, ottobre.
    5. Rohde, Marc & Breuer, Christoph, 2018. "Competing by investments or efficiency? Exploring financial and sporting efficiency of club ownership structures in European football," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 563-581.
    6. Francesco Fenton, 2018. "L'Importanza Socio/Economica Della Scolarizzazione Nei Settori Giovanili. Confronto Tra Il Modello Italiano E Quello Tedesco," Rivista di Diritto ed Economia dello Sport, Centro di diritto e business dello Sport, vol. 14(2), pages 121-142, ottobre.
    7. Budzinski, Oliver & Kunz-Kaltenhäuser, Philipp, 2020. "Promoting or restricting competition? - The 50plus1-rule in German football," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 141, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    8. Richau, Lukas & Follert, Florian & Frenger, Monika & Emrich, Eike, 2021. "The Rainmaker?! The impact of investors on transfer fees in the English Premier League," Working Paper 187/2021, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.

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