The Center for Research in Sports Administration (CRSA) hosted this year's ESEA Conference on Sports Economics, thereby fulfilling the competence center's main objectives of fostering top level academic research in sports economics and coordinating scientific collaboration between researchers of various universities.
Prior to the conference, on August 26, 2015, the CRSA organized a PhD course on several topics in sports economics. Paul Madden (University of Manchester) held an introductory lecture on theoretical sports economics, while Brad Humphreys (West Virginia University) focused his lecture on dealing with zeros in empirical data. Arne Feddersen (University of Southern Denmark) and Rob Simmons (Lancaster University) led a round-table discussion on publishing strategies in sports economics. We were happy to have had a very successful PhD course with over 25 participating graduate students.
Helmut Dietl (University of Zurich), CRSA's chairman, introduced the 7th ESEA Conference on Sports Economics in his welcoming address for 120 participants from all over the world. Stressing CRSA's mission statement and objectives, he briefly explained the conference program and the necessary information regarding conference logistics before handing over the speaker's desk to Brad Humphreys (West Virginia University) for the keynote speech.
Brad Humphreys focused his keynote on the future of behavioral economics in sports economics research, thereby stressing the importance of behavioral economics concepts, such as "present bias" and "behavioral contract theory" that are valid concepts for better understanding phenomena in sports yet remain uncommon in sports economics research.
The conference served as a platform for researchers from Europe, Asia and Americas to present their current work in sports economics. In total, over 70 presentations were held in 22 different sessions, ranging from theoretical sports economics (Regulation and League Design) to econometrical analyses (betting and corruption, sports socio-economics, finance and insolvency etc.). Emelie Värja (Örebro University) has been awarded the Best Young Research Paper Award for her paper on "Sports and Local Growth in Sweden: Is a Successful Sports Team Good for Local Economic Growth?".
The social program on August 27, 2015, took all participants of the conference to the FIFA Headquarters, Home of FIFA, in Zurich. Alexander Koch presented FIFA's latest activities and discussed current important issues with our conference participants. Later in the evening, we enjoyed a dinner in the lobby and a tour through the impressive building including the executive boardroom and the religion-neutral meditation room.
Gabriele Siegert (University of Zurich), CRSA's board member, chaired the panel discussion on "The Crucial Interplay Between Sports, the Economy, and the Media" in the closing session of the conference. Helmut Dietl (University of Zurich), Hippolyt Kempf (Swiss Federal Office for Sports), Castulus Kolo (Macromedia University of Applied Sciences) and Elmar Wagner (Neue Zürcher Zeitung) offered different perspectives within the discussion.
We would like to thank our partners from the City and Canton of Zurich, MySwitzerland, Zurich Tourism, SWISS and the Blizzard for their generous support in organizing a successful conference at the University of Zurich.