The Football Research Group has just produced its latest research paper from one of its projects, through members Prof James Reade & Dr Carl Singleton. It has been published as a working paper in the SSRN: Coronavirus & Infectious Disease Research eJournal, and is joint work with an economist at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Dominik Schreyer

A brief summary:

In this note, we explore the patterns in stadium attendance demand during a public health emergency, by exploiting match-level data from the Belarusian Premier League (BPL); i.e., a football competition that kept playing unrestricted in front of spectators throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic, unlike all other European professional football leagues.

Analysing match-level data from the first half of the 2020 BPL campaign, we find robust evidence that most of these football fans, though not all, decided to stay at home in the initial period of maximum COVID-19 uncertainty. This effect quickly reverted, indicating that potential spectators adjusted their perception of the threat over time, despite the continued risk. For public policymakers, who must balance economic, social and public health interests as a crisis like COVID-19 unfolds, our findings imply that football fans are likely to return to the stands sooner rather than later once European stadiums are re-opened.

Read more about it a here.