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足壇硅谷歐洲的金錢游戲

Ian Mount 2014年06月16日

世界杯結束后,參賽球員將重返職業聯賽,其中約70%的球員都將回到歐洲。歐洲足球俱樂部就像納斯達克市場上的投資,要么暴富,要么一無所有,就跟玩輪盤賭一樣。

????2010年世界杯電視觀眾人數為32億,成為世界上僅次于奧運會的體育盛事。但和大多數奧運會不同的是,足球并不只是每四年才能引起一次全球性的關注。

????范德堡大學(Vanderbilt University)體育經濟學家約翰?弗魯曼指出,美國橄欖球聯盟(NFL)的決賽觀眾人數為1.1億人,而在西班牙聯賽,兩大對手巴塞羅那和皇家馬德里之間的國家德比所吸引的全球觀眾更多,而且兩家俱樂部實際上只有10%的球迷住在西班牙。

????不過,無論足球在國際上如何受歡迎,這項運動仍然有一個“家”。世界杯結束后,736名參賽球員將重返職業聯賽,而其中約70%的球員,包括南美兩大勁旅——巴西和阿根廷國家隊的大多數成員,都將回到同一個地區,那就是歐洲。

????歐洲俱樂部擁有世界上三分之二的頂級足球運動員。那么,這個足球產業重地,或者說足球界的硅谷,是怎樣一番情形呢?

????給錢給到手抽筋

????蘭卡斯特大學管理學院(Lancaster University Management School)經濟學教授羅布?西蒙斯認為,由于市場上買家數量有限(32只球隊)而且設有薪水上限,許多NFL球員的工資可能偏低。

????而在歐洲,多個相鄰國家的聯賽會相互爭奪球員,薪酬方面也沒有限制,這讓歐洲足球界的光景跟NFL截然不同。弗魯曼說,在歐洲五大聯賽,球隊70%以上的收入都流進了球員的腰包;而在NFL,這個比例還不到50%。

????這種局面對于球員的收入水平極為有利。但除了西班牙等地的頂級球隊,對其他俱樂部來說,這種做法會讓它們入不敷出。西甲和西乙共有42支球隊,由于管理不善和球員工資過高,過去10年中已有19家俱樂部宣布破產。另外,西班牙職業球隊拖欠政府的稅款高達6.7億歐元(9.1億美元)。

????歐洲足球不相信“平等”

????從數學角度來說,或許可以把歐洲足球稱為“確定性系統”。也就是說,聯賽的隨機性非常小。人們在賽季的第一天基本上就能想到誰會成為冠軍。

????歐盟委員會(European Commission)2013年進行的一項調查顯示,2000-2012年,所有西甲聯賽冠軍由三支球隊瓜分;在意甲和英超,三支球隊瓜分了92%的聯賽冠軍頭銜;在德甲,這個數字為83%。

????歐洲足球聯賽沒有NFL那樣的收入共享機制,大多數收入都被幾家頂級俱樂部據為己有。它們還會買下所有的球星,其他球隊在人才和收入方面只有“喝口湯”的份兒。

????弗魯曼說:“從財務角度看,最形象的比喻是NFL是針對標普(S&P)指數的投資組合,而且實現了充分多元化;歐洲足球俱樂部則像納斯達克(NASDAQ)市場上的投資,要么暴富,要么一無所有,就跟玩輪盤賭一樣。在歐洲足球界,除了最大的三、四家俱樂部,其他俱樂部的處境都是不成功便成仁,特別是在西甲和意甲。”

????但這有助于國際足球更加平衡

????經濟收斂理論認為,窮國的人均GDP增長率會超過富國,從而使各個國家的富裕程度逐步靠攏。

????足球領域的情況也是如此,越來越多的發展中國家球員進入歐洲頂級球隊,然后把他們學到的東西帶回本國俱樂部,從而讓后者在國際上更有競爭力。

????密歇根大學(University of Michigan)體育管理學教授斯蒂芬?西曼斯基指出:“實力較弱的國家(隊)正變得越來越強。特別是和歐洲以及南美國家相比。我們發現,這幾年其他地區的國家隊的成績有了提高。”

????2012年,比利時魯汶大學(University of Leuven)三位經濟學家發表的研究報告顯示,發展中國家每向英超輸送一名球員,這些國家的國家隊在國際足聯(FIFA)的積分就會增加21.6分。

????說的具體一點,21.6分可以讓斯洛文尼亞國家隊的排名從第29名上升到第24名,一舉超過厄瓜多爾、阿爾及利亞、瑞典、波黑和埃及。

????當然,國際足球尚未實現充分收斂

????上述研究報告的作者之一杰倫?斯科凱特說:“我覺得至少今后10年不會有非洲球隊捧起世界杯,或者進入決賽。我很愿意看到這樣的局面。這是全球化的一部分。但要讓它成為可能,這些國家首先需要大力發展經濟。”

????說的更明白一點,魯汶大學的這三位教授認為,發展中國家的人均GDP每提高7272美元,其國家隊的國際足聯積分也可以增加21.6分。

????在這方面,跟體育無關的那些經濟領域可以從世界杯那里有所借鑒。這三位經濟學家把足球水平的提高和科技進步進行了類比。他們認為,發展中國家可以實施讓海外僑民回國任教的政策,進而推動經濟發展。

????他們寫道:“僑民的系統性回歸很重要,就連暫時回歸也是如此。決策者可以制定計劃,協助有一技之長的僑民回國一段時間,以便向國內同胞傳授他們在國外學到的技能和技術。”

????最終,這可能比獲得21.6個國際足聯積分更為重要。(財富中文網)

????譯者:Charlie

????With a home TV audience of 3.2 million in 2010, the World Cup is only surpassed by the Olympic Games as the planet’s biggest sporting spectacle. But unlike most Olympic sports, soccer isn’t a one-off that only grabs international attention once every four years.

????In Spain’s national league, every El Clásico match between archrivals Barcelona and Real Madrid draws a larger worldwide audience than the 110 million fans who watch the NFL Super Bowl, notes John Vrooman, a Vanderbilt University sports economist. And only 10% of Barcelona and Real Madrid fans actually live in Spain.

????But as internationally popular as the sport may be, it has a home. After the World Cup wraps up, some 70% of the 736 players involved–including most of the players on South American powerhouse teams Brazil and Argentina–will head back to day jobs at professional teams in one place: Europe.

????Europe employs over two-thirds of the best soccer players in the world. So, what is this industry cluster–this Silicon Valley of soccer–like?

????It pays until it hurts

????With a limited number of buyers in the market (one 32-team league) and a salary cap in place, many NFL players are likely underpaid, according to Rob Simmons, a professor of economics at the Lancaster University Management School.

????But with leagues in multiple neighboring countries competing for player services and no salary cap to put on the breaks, European soccer is a different beast altogether. Players receive over 70% of team revenues in the top five European soccer leagues, says Vrooman, compared to less than half in the NFL.

????That setup is great for players’ checkbooks. But it’s a road to insolvency for all but the top teams in places like Spain. Because of bad management and salary overspending, 19 of the 42 teams in Spain’s top two leagues have declared bankruptcy in the last decade. And professional teams owe the Spanish government670 million euros ($910 million) in back taxes.

????It doesn’t believe in “parity”

????European soccer is what a mathematician might call a “deterministic system.” That is, there is very little randomness in the league. You generally know who will win from the season’s first day.

????A 2013 study published by the European Commissionfound that between 2000 and 2012 the same three teams won 100% of the league titles in Spain, 92% in Italy and England, and 83% in Germany.

????Without an NFL-style shared revenue system, most of the money flows to a few top teams, who buy all the star players and leave everyone else with the talent and revenue crumbs.

????“The best financial analogy would be like comparing the NFL as a well-diversified S&P index portfolio with an all-or-nothing NASDAQ roulette wheel,” says Vanderbilt’s Vrooman. “European football, particularly in La Liga (Spain) and Serie A (Italy) is make-it-or-break-it unless you are one of the top three or four clubs.”

????But it’s helping to make international soccer more equal

????In economics, “convergence” theory holds that poor countries will see their per-capita GDP increase faster than that of rich countries, bringing the wealth of nations closer together over time.

????That is what’s happening in soccer, as more players from developing countries go to play on top teams in Europe and then bring the skills they learn back to their national clubs, in turn making them more competitive in international play.

????“Weaker nations’ [teams] are getting stronger,” saysStefan Szymanski, a sports management professor at the University of Michigan. “Particularly against European and South American countries, we’ve seen countries from other regions have better results in recent years.”

????In a 2012 research paper, three economists at the University of Leuven in Belgium found that every player a developing country sent to play in England’s Premier League translated into 21.6 extra points in therankings from the international soccer body FIFA.

????To put that into perspective, an extra 21.6 points would allow Slovenia to jump from No. 29 to No. 24 place in the rankings, leapfrogging Ecuador, Algeria, Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Egypt.

????Of course, international soccer hasn’t reached perfect convergence yet

????“I don’t think you’ll have an African team winning or getting to the final at least for the next 10 years,” says Jeroen Schokkaert, one of the authors of the paper. “I would love to see it. It’s part of globalization. But the countries first need solid economic development before that is possible.”

????Driving this home, the Leuven professors note that developing countries could also get a 21.6 jump in FIFA points by increasing per capita GDP by $7,272.

????In this case, the non-sports economy could learn something from the World Cup. Comparing soccer skills to technological development, the University of Leuven economists suggest that developing countries could improve their economic development by implementing policies to bring back emigrants to teach.

????“Systematic return of migrants, even temporary, is important,” the authors write. “Policy makers could design programs that facilitate the return of skilled migrants for short periods of time in order to share the skills and technology acquired abroad with their home countries peers.”

????In the end, that’s probably more important than 21.6 additional FIFA points.

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