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Performance and revenue in professional league football: evidence from Granger causality tests


  • S. M. Dobson
  • J. A. Goddard


Using a dataset comprising annual performance (measured by final league position) and gate revenue for 77 Football League clubs which maintained unbroken league membership between 1946 and 1994, the relationship between performance and revenue is investigated using cointegration and causality tests. A cointegrating relationship between performance and revenue is established in only 10 cases out of 77, although it is argued that some caution is required in interpreting these results, due to the low power of the relevant tests in relatively small samples. In Granger causality tests, more evidence is found of causality running from lagged revenue to current performance than of causality in the opposite direction, while the dependence of performance on revenue seems to be greater for the smaller clubs than for the larger. These results lend empirical support to the popular view that, unless checked by mechanisms for revenue redistribution within the league, the natural tendency is for success to become concentrated increasingly among a small group of elite, wealthy clubs.

Suggested Citation

  • S. M. Dobson & J. A. Goddard, 1998. "Performance and revenue in professional league football: evidence from Granger causality tests," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(12), pages 1641-1651.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:30:y:1998:i:12:p:1641-1651
    DOI: 10.1080/000368498324715

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    Cited by:

    1. Wladimir Andreff, 2014. "French professional football: how much different?," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football, chapter 18, pages 298-321 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Torgler, Benno & Schmidt, Sascha L & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "The Power of Positional Concerns: A Panel Analysis," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt1z14v7zt, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    3. Benno Torgler & Sascha L. Schmidt & Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "The Power of Positional Concerns," CREMA Working Paper Series 2008-07, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    4. Leitão, João, 2012. "Regulation and football brand: Can we talk about a Taylor Effect on the performances of the Red Devils?," Edition HWWI: Chapters,in: Zur Ökonomik von Spitzenleistungen im internationalen Sport, pages 49-71 Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    5. Marc Rohde & Christoph Breuer, 2016. "Europe’s Elite Football: Financial Growth, Sporting Success, Transfer Investment, and Private Majority Investors," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(2), pages 1-20, June.
    6. Lief Brandes & Egon Franck, 2007. "Who Made Who – An Empirical Analysis of Competitive Balance in European Soccer Leagues," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 379-403, Summer.
    7. Karanfil, Fatih, 2017. "An empirical analysis of European football rivalries based on on-field performances," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 468-482.
    8. L.F.M. Groot & J. Ferwerda, 2014. "Soccer jersey sponsors and the world cup," Working Papers 14-07, Utrecht School of Economics.
    9. Lief Brandes & Egon Franck, 2007. "Who Made Who – An Empirical Analysis of Competitive Balance in European Soccer Leagues," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 379-403, Summer.
    10. Antonio Samagaio & Eduardo Couto & Jorge Caiado, 2009. "Sporting, financial and stock market performance in English football: an empirical analysis of structural relationships," CEMAPRE Working Papers 0906, Centre for Applied Mathematics and Economics (CEMAPRE), School of Economics and Management (ISEG), Technical University of Lisbon.
    11. Francisco González Gómez & Andrés J. Picazo Tadeo, 2008. "Can we be satisfied with our football team? Evidence from spanish professional football," ThE Papers 08/11, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    12. Stephen Dobson & John Goddard & John Wilson, 2001. "League Structure and Match Attendances in English Rugby League," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 335-351.
    13. Ira Horowitz, 2007. "If you play well they will come-and vice versa: bidirectional causality in major-league baseball," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(2), pages 93-105.
    14. Leitão, João, 2007. "The Taylor Effect on the Performances of the Red Devils’ Football Brand," MPRA Paper 3244, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Andrés Picazo-Tadeo & Francisco González-Gómez, 2010. "Does playing several competitions influence a team’s league performance? Evidence from Spanish professional football," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 18(3), pages 413-432, September.
    16. Young Hoon Lee & Yongdai Kim & Sara Kim, 2016. "A Bias-Corrected Estimator of Competitive Balance in Sports Leagues," Working Papers 1611, Research Institute for Market Economy, Sogang University.
    17. Andreef, Wladimir, 2016. "French professional football in European context: how much different?," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 3, pages 108-137, June.
    18. Steven Salaga & Rodney Fort, 2017. "Structural Change in Competitive Balance in Big-Time College Football," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 50(1), pages 27-41, February.
    19. Rodney Fort & Young Hoon Lee, 2007. "Structural Change, Competitive Balance, And The Rest Of The Major Leagues," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 519-532, July.
    20. Wladimir Andreff, 2014. "French professional football: how much different?," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01244492, HAL.
    21. Paresh Kumar Narayan & Russell Smyth, 2003. "Attendance and pricing at sporting events: empirical results from Granger Causality Tests for the Melbourne Cup," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(15), pages 1649-1657.
    22. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:1091-1103 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Szymanski, Stefan & Wilkinson, Guy, 2016. "Testing the O-Ring theory using data from the English Premier League," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 468-481.

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