Identifying Global Markets in Professional Sports

A seminar as part of the Birkbeck Sport Business Centre Public Seminar Series

Given by: Dr Pedro Garcia-del-Barrio, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona.

Room 421
Malet Street Building
Birkbeck College
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX

Wednesday 7th June 2017, 4pm-6pm

For directions click here.

Attendance at the event is free.


Modern professional sports are largely driven by economic aspects that are often related to the media exposure of individuals and teams. The business of professional sports, as part of the entertainment industry, is actually developed upon intangible assets such as sporting talent and popularity. Given that the interest of fans and other consumers of spectacle are eventually transformed into revenues, individuals’ in-field and off-field skills are major sources of income.

In this study Dr Del Barrio evaluateS intangible talent in global sport markets, focusing especially on Formula One and Soccer. Media value ratings are used to approximate the degree of recognition achieved by teams and sport leagues. According to this methodological approach, the media value appraisals are meant to jointly capture sport talent along with the potential economic contribution of the actors operating in these global industries.

The empirical study is based on large data bases collected from worldwide media sources and from Internet web sites. The guidelines of the methodology are based on the popularity status (interest that the general public grants to individuals or teams, as captured by the amount of Internet contents) and the degree of media value exposure (visibility achieved in the mass media, as captured by the number of news articles talking about players or teams); aspects that derive from sport performance, social status and personal talent.

The individual index of media value is expressed with respect to the average of the top 2,500 players included in our data collection of more than 5,000 individuals. The media value score is the factor by which the value of a player multiplies the number of news articles generated by the representative (average) player in our sample. Based on individual appraisals, we are able to work out aggregate ratings for teams and leagues.

Aggregate figures are then used to rank the hierarchy of soccer teams and domestic leagues (or other competitions), according to the degree of attention that they draw from fans and the general public. The task of comparing the relative status, across soccer teams and leagues, has been typically approached from an exclusively financial perspective. By adopting a methodology based on news articles, and relying on media value appraisals, the study thus benefits from a more comprehensive view, in which the scope of analysis is enhanced. In other words, the economic viewpoint may be enriched through accounting for the future revenues associated to the number potential consumers of sports entertainment.

The study also discloses that certain characteristics of the sportsmen are relevant to explain levels of media value status beyond what their sport talent (as measured by sport outcomes) is able to explain. Other analyses carried out with this methodology include, for instance, examining the evolution of media value over Grand Prix races or a dis-aggregated analyses by regions to determine the principal markets of the Formula One business. To illustrate this point, an analysis based on media value ratings for 2013, reveals that the main Formula One markets were, respectively: Germany, Spain, France, England, Italy, the US and Brasil. Besides, the empirical evidence identifies the US, Indonesia, Brazil and Russia as some of the most profitable markets for the Formula One.

Among other results, it seems that the soccer industry is overall more global than other North American sport events. Soccer has a larger presence in Latin American as well as in countries of Asia and the Pacific area. Regarding individual sports, like tennis or golf, they appear to convey smaller interest than team sport competitions. The approach allows also the examination of the interest of local and global rivalries, thereby conveying a better understanding of the factors explaining the worldwide success of global sport industries.


Dr. Pedro Garcia-del-Barrio is Senior Lecturer of economics and Vice-Dean at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC Barcelona). After completing his MSc in Economics (University of Southampton, 2000), he was awarded a PhD especial distinction (Universidad de Navarra, 2002).

The main areas of his research are in the field of Labour, Industrial and Sports Economics. He has published papers in: Journal of Sports Economics, Applied Economics, Economic Modelling, Managerial and Decision Economics, Journal of Economics, Intangible Capital, European Journal of Government and Economics, Journal of Productivity Analysis, Review of Industrial Organization, etc. He has collaborated to develop MERIT (Methodology for the Evaluation and Rating of Intangible Talent), which is part of an academic project with applications in sport management.

Contact Details

Seminar Series Details

For further details on this seminar series contact:

Dr Giambattista Rossi
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020 7631 6763


Twitter: @Birkbecksport

View all Events