Impacts of The Great Recession on sport:evidence from English football league attendance demand

Buraimo, Babatunde and Migali, Giuseppe and Simmons, Robert (2022) Impacts of The Great Recession on sport:evidence from English football league attendance demand. Oxford Economic Papers, 74 (1). pp. 155-177. ISSN 0030-7653

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This article investigates the impact of the 2007–9 Great Recession on attendance demand in the English Football League. We identify causal effects of variations in local unemployment rates on club matchday attendances using a difference-in-difference methodology applied to specific treatment and control group clubs categorized according to severity of local unemployment increase during the recession period. We find that treatment clubs in Tiers 3 and 4 suffered an attendance reduction of 10.5% purely through rising unemployment in local Travel to Work Areas containing clubs’ stadia after controlling for a large set of confounding influences. Smaller but still significant effects are found in alternative specifications, including the incorporation of Tier 2 clubs into the analysis.

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Journal Article
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Oxford Economic Papers
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This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Oxford Economic Papers following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version, Babatunde Buraimo, Giuseppe Migali, Rob Simmons, Impacts of the Great Recession on sport: evidence from English Football League attendance demand, Oxford Economic Papers, Volume 74, Issue 1, January 2022, Pages 155–177,, is available online at:
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01 Dec 2020 12:27
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 02:56