Sports Economics Research Group Information about the Sports Economics Research Group, headed by Professor Dr. Michael Lechner. “Sport: all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organized participation, aims at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well-being, forming social relationships or obtaining results in competition at all levels.“ Definition of sport set out by the Council of Europe in the White Paper on Sport 2007. Sports economics is a recent and much diversified field of economics. As researchers also interested in health, labour, behavioral and education economics as well as econometrics we focus on several aspects related to sports such as leisure sports participation and its impact on individual’s life as well as organisational issues in professional sports. Leisure Time Sports Several scientific data outline the importance of sports participation on health and well-being but also on education success and labour-market outcomes. Indeed, leisure time sports helps to maintain health, strength and good body shape at all ages. Sports are also a great way to de-stress and relax and thus prepares for another productive work day. It further thought to transmit values such as perseverance, solidarity, team spirit, fair-play, and so on, which are generally considered to be positive traits. Last, sport is a way of socializing and meeting people who do not form part of the traditional networks (professional and familial). The goal of our research is to shed more light on these effects and their impact on individual health, labour market and educational outcomes of individuals of different ages and in different social contexts. We contribute to these goals by performing social experiments as well as by analysing observational data with rigorous econometric methods. Professional Sports Sports industry is a fast growing industry that has its own unique organizational features. The economic, cultural and political significance of sports events such as the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA European Championship and the Olympic Games is enormous. For example, 3.6 billion viewers around the globe watched the 2012 London Olympic Games and 3.2 billion viewers watched the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Not surprisingly, the outcomes of these events may have a large effect on various important aspects of life. The goal of our research is to study how different designs of tournament may affect important features such as competitive balance, fairness, winning probabilities, etc. We contribute to these goals by conducting theoretical research as well as by analysing data from real tournaments by means of advanced econometric methods. In addition we developed our own and independent forecast for the German Bundesliga, which is based on the latest machine learning and simulation tools and updated every week. Sports as Laboratory Sports data are very unique in that they embody a large amount of detailed information that can be applied to test different economic and behavioral models. Applying data from professional sports where contestants have strong incentives to win has several advantages. First, it eliminates any possible scepticism about applying behavioral insights obtained in a laboratory to real-life situations. Second, professional sports contests involve high-stake decisions that are familiar to agents. Third, it provides a unique opportunity to observe and measure performance as a function of variables such as heterogeneity in abilities and prizes, for example. The goal of our research is to investigate different behavioral phenomena, such as choking, momentum, etc., that may arise in real tournament settings. We contribute to these goals by identifying and analysing such situation that often occur in sports competition. In addition, we also use the sports data as a laboratory for developing new machine learning based estimators.