Slideshows | June 28, 2012

Nine amazing insights on football and economics

As the Euro 2016 tournament gets under way, here's a look back at our series on football and managing money.

In the beautiful game, we can see strengths and weaknesses in the way people make decisions. "Cup-o-nomics" articles by sports and economics writer Simon Kuper for eZonomics in 2012 showed how economics lessons from football can apply to the way we save, invest and manage money.

Like buying a stock when the price has peaked
Kuper talks about risk, home bias, peer effects and other concepts. He compares managers who buy a player after they have done well in a big tournament with investors who buy a stock just when its price has peaked.



Did you know … the €400,000 question for Italian footballers?

The average player’s wage in Italy’s Serie A is about €900,000 a year, says this article. But the median wage is much lower: only about €500,000. The lesson: “don’t be fooled by the exceptions”.


Did you know … a football manager can be considered a “high risk” job?

The average tenure for a manager of a professional football club in Europe is 17 months, says this article. We are wise to risks and rewards in investing: investments with higher potential returns typically carry higher risk of losses. The football manager shows that a similar dynamic exists in careers.


Did you know … why the pay packets of footballers can shrink year-on-year?

Footballers’ salaries are seldom adjusted for the cost of living from year-to-year, says this article. And as well as inflation, exchange rate fluctuations can also erode players’ purchasing power. It reminds us to think about how far money can go rather than the face value – don’t fall for “money illusion”.


Did you know … about the danger of “home bias”?

Numerous academic studies have found that fans are too quick to bet on their own team, this article says. The same sort of bias exists in financial investing. Economists call it the “home equity bias” – and it can mean misplaced loyalty at the expense of diversification and “better bets elsewhere”.


Did you know … big sports matches can have big effects on share markets?

Volumes traded in a country’s stock market dropped 55% on average when that country’s team was playing a World Cup 2010 match, research cited in this article says. It has implications for a wide range of trading and highlights how “markets function best at times of busyness”.


Did you know … the worst time to buy a player is just after they have done well at a big tournament

It’s like buying a stock just when its price has peaked, this article says. Being overly influenced by something that has just happened is a common mistake in investing.


Did you know… why the German women’s football team has been so successful?

Part of the reason is that they benefit from what academics call “peer effects”, this article says, they have caught the habits of people near them. For personal finance, the trick is to learn from peers with good financial habits.


Did you know … Greek goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias was the oldest player at Euro 2012?

Jobs for life have become rare at the same time as working life is getting longer, this article says. The message is that most of us will have to work until our mid- to late-sixties – so, like footballers, we should be prepared to have more than one career.


Did you know ... share markets often fall after a big football loss

Rationally, the result of a football match shouldn’t affect a national stock market, this article says. But we are all capable of making irrational, emotion-driven financial decisions and can employ ways to counter this tendency.

InvestingEconomicsBiasSportPeer effects

eZonomics team
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