Free-to-air Broadcasting and the GAA

The evolution of the modern sports league is directly linked to the growth of broadcasting revenue in sport. While many see sports broadcasting as a public good, since the late 1980s there has been a general migration towards subscription-based, satellite channels. The emergence of satellite broadcasting changed the position from one where content competed for scarce distribution outlets on terrestrial television, to one where there is an abundance of spectrum competing for scarce content. The general improvement in broadcasting technology and changes to the regulatory environment have aided this movement, allowing for restricted access.

Like all sports, the GAA has adapted to this evolution. In 2014 the organisation sold broadcasting rights to BSkyB, with 20 matches shown on its Sky Sports channels, 14 of which are exclusive. The continuation of this deal to 2022 has been argued on the grounds that it promotes the game internationally and provides coverage to Irish emigrants.

Not everyone is happy with this. Speaking on The Sunday Game, RTÉ hurling analyst Michael Duignan said that “the biggest disgrace of the weekend was on Saturday evening, that the Waterford-Kilkenny wasn’t shown on free-to-air television”. He continued: “The Sky deal is so wrong on so many levels and it’s not because I’m in RTÉ working for the Sunday Game. My parents are at home. My father is 83 years of age. A savage hurling man. Why should he go to the pub? He doesn’t go to the pub to watch a match. They have enough money in the GAA. How much money do they want? What about the people who have supported it all their lives that can’t watch it? I think it’s disgraceful.”

The Broadcasting (Major Events Television Coverage) Act 1999 (Designation of Major Events) Order 2003 and Broadcasting Act 2009 do prevent “events of major importance to society” from migrating to subscription channels. The following are considered to fall under this category:

• The Summer Olympics
• The All-Ireland Senior Inter-County Football and Hurling Finals
• Ireland’s home and away qualifying games in the European Football Championship and the FIFA World Cup Tournaments
• Ireland’s games in the European Football Championship Finals Tournament and the FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament
• The opening games, the semi-finals and final of the European Football Championship Finals and the FIFA World Cup Finals Tournament
• Ireland’s games in the Rugby World Cup Finals Tournament
• The Irish Grand National and the Irish Derby
• The Nations Cup at the Dublin Horse Show

The Act also states that “Each of Ireland’s games in the Six Nations Rugby Football Championship is designated as an event of major importance to society for which the right of a qualifying broadcaster to provide coverage on a deferred basis on free television services should be provided in the public interest”.

In theory, far more could migrate to subscription platforms, including all provisional finals and the All-Ireland Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals. While this is unlikely to happen, it is possible. After nearly 60 years waiting, I am sure every Waterford fan would say Saturday night’s game was of “major importance”. Those north of the Suir will obviously argue otherwise.

Summer 2017 Economic and Social Review

The summer 2017 edition of the ESR is now on-line, including the following articles:

Brendan M. Walsh (1940-2016): The Economist at Work
by J. Peter Neary and Cormac Ó Gráda

Life Expectancy in Ireland since the 1870s
by Brendan Walsh

Civic Returns to Education: Voter Turnout in Ireland
by Yuanyuan Ma

Integrated Modelling of the Impact of Direct and Indirect Taxes Using Complementary Datasets
by Michael Savage

and a policy article on
If Opportunity Doesn’t Knock, Build a Door: Reflecting on a Bioeconomy Policy Agenda for Ireland
by Laura Anne Devaney and Maeve Henchion

2017 Sports Economics Workshop

The 3rd annual Sports Economics Workshop will be held on Friday 21st of July 2017 at University College Cork. The purpose of this workshop is to discuss and stimulate interdisciplinary research ideas from those working in the areas of economics, sport, coaching, public health, management, and related fields in Ireland and abroad.

Professor Bernd Frick (Paderborn University) will deliver the keynote address at 2.00pm in the North Wing Quadrangle Council Room. This lecture will be based on his new book, Conquering the Pitch – The Economics of Soccer.

Professor Frick will explore the development of soccer as the world’s most popular team sport and addresses competitive balance across a large number of leagues. The book provides a thorough understanding of the market for players, coaches and referees, as well as the demand for soccer on television, in stadiums and in the betting office.

Prior to the keynote, a morning session will be held from 10.00am to 11.30am in the Kavanagh Pharmacy Building where a series of technical papers will be presented with contributions from the sports of cycling, rugby and soccer. The full session is as follows:

• Uncertainty of Outcome and Grand Tour Cycling – Joel Maxcy (Drexel University)

• Regional Development in Interwar England through Football Statistics – Babatunde Buraimo (University of Liverpool), Rob Simmons (Lancaster) University) and Stefan Szymanski (University of Michigan).

• Bonus Incentives and Team-Effort Levels in European Cup Rugby: Evidence from the Field – Robbie Butler (University College Cork), Pat Massey (Compecon) and Liam Lenten (La Trobe University).

The morning session will be followed by a roundtable discussion from 11.45am to 1pm where the current and future direction of sports research in Ireland will be discussed. Discussants will include Peter Smyth (Director of Research – Sport Ireland), Elish Kelly (Senior Research Officer- Economic and Social Research Institute) and Sean Lucey (Business School Research Manager – University College Cork).

The workshop is free to attend and those interested should register at www.sportseconomics.org/workshop.

Call for abstracts for a conference panel session on “Trust in Economics”

UCD Philosophy Prof Maria Baghramian is organizing a conference on “Trust, Expert Opinion and Policy” at the end of the Summer in Dublin and there’s to be a panel on “Trust in Economics”. She has asked me to post this call for abstracts. Should be an interesting event.

Place: University College Dublin
Time: August 31-September 2, 2017

Carlo Martini (University of Helsinki) and Don Ross (University College Cork and University of Cape Town) are organising a special session on

Trust in Economics

embedded in the international conference on Trust, Expert Opinion and Policy  (a multidisciplinary conference investigating questions of trust in and the trustworthiness of expert opinion).

The conference is organised by Professor Maria Baghramian (School of Philosophy, University College Dublin) and Professor Luke Drury (School of Cosmic Physics, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) as part of their Irish Research Council Project “When Experts Disagree” in collaboration with the project: “The Trinity of Policy-Making: Evidence, Causation, Argumentation”

Keynote speakers at the conference:
Onora O’Neill (University of Cambridge, Philosophy)
Patrick Honohan (Trinity College Dublin, Economics)

Call for Abstracts for the special panel on Trust in Economics

Description of the panel’s topics: What factors influence the extent of public trust in economists? Research and media outlets have recently reported a severe crisis of confidence affecting science, and economics in particular. But available surveys mainly focus on natural and medical sciences. What do we know, based on rigorous and objective surveys, about the attitudes of various publics toward economics? Past and current economic crises and turmoil are often cited to cast doubt on the expertise of economic policy advisors and commentators, but to what extent is this a problem for economics as a science? To what extent does it stem from failures in communication? Are some of the current negative judgments on economics and economists due to lack of adequate effort by economists in building a relation of trust between their science and its public?

We will be selecting a small number of contributed papers addressing, among others, the following questions:

Is there currently a crisis of public trust in economic science?
Do economists value trust in public communication of their science?
Are economists effective in communicating trust?
How should we conceptualize trust in economic expertise?
How can public trust in economics best be empirically studied and measured in surveys?
How can we most effectively build greater public trust in economic expertise?

We invite short abstracts (max 500 words) to be submitted to evidenceandexpertise@gmail.com by July 15 2017. Notifications of accepted papers will be sent out shortly after the deadline.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: July 15 2017

Map of Economic Thought in Dublin

Following up from the previous post, here is a first version of a map of the history of economics in Dublin.  The purpose of this map is to stimulate discussion and appreciation of the history of economic thought in Dublin. Some of the figures, including Edgeworth, Geary, Cairnes and Bastable, made intellectual contributions that are important internationally, and many of the economists featured were key figures in national policy debates.  It is intended as a public discussion tool and not itself as a primary academic source and draws in detail from excellent source material below, in particular the Boylan et al, 2011, Murphy 1984 and Murphy and Prendergast 2000 books that are worth reading for anyone with an interest in Irish history, and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. It is also a work-in-progress and I will update frequently. It is based on a similar project conducted by Professor Ian Preston at University College London. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctp100/Walks/EconWalks.htm Doireann O’Brien provided detailed assistance with locating sources and developing the map and associated resources. Comments or suggestions can be sent to liam.delaney@ucd.ie

Bibliography

Barrington, Richard. “History of SSISI.” The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland. Web.

Boland, Rosita. “Sophie Bryant, Mathematician and Pioneer of Education for Women.” The Irish Times. 23 Aug. 2016. Web.

Boylan, Thomas. Political Economy and Colonial Ireland: The Propagation and Ideological Functions of Economic Discourse in the Nineteenth Century. London and New York: Routledge, 1992. Print.

Boylan, Thomas A., Renee Prendergast, and John D. Turner. A History of Irish Economic Thought. London: Routledge, 2011. Print.

“British Academy Scholarship.” British Academy Scholarship. Oxford University Press. Web.

Callinan, Frank. “Thomas Michael Kettle: An Enduring Legacy.” The Irish Times. 16 May 2016. Web.

Cullen, Clara, Mary E. Daly, and Orla Feely. The Building of the State: Science and Engineering with Government on Merrion Street. Dublin: U College Dublin, 2011. Print.

“The Economic and Social Research Institute.” ESRI – The Economic and Social Research Institute. Web.

Fanning, Bryan. Histories of the Irish Future. London: Bloomsbury Academic, an Imprint of Bloomsbury Plc, 2015. Print.

“Faulkner, George.” Dublin Music Trade. Ed. Barra Boydell and Catherine Ferris. The Music Libraries Trust, The Society for Musicology in Ireland. Web. 22 June 2017.

Granville, David. “Sophie Bryant (part 1).” Irish Democrat Archive : Features. Connolly Association, C/o RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London, NW1 1JD, 10 Dec. 2008. Web.

Harbison, Peter. “Royal Irish Academy.” The Encyclopedia of Ireland. Ed. Brian Lalor. New Haven: Yale UP, 2003. 948-49. Print.

“Houses of the Oireachtas – Where It Began!” Houses of the Oireachtas. Houses of the Oireachtas. Web.

“Identity Statement for Professor James Meenan.” UCD Archives. Winter 1992. Web.

M, M. J. “Professor Patrick Lynch.” The Irish Times. 3 Dec. 2001. Web.

McCabe, Brian. “Building of the Month – Department of Industry and Commerce.” Archive: Buildings of Ireland: National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Nov. 2012. Web.

Murphy, Antoin E. Economists and the Irish Economy: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day. Blackrock: Irish Academic in Association with Hermathena, 1984. Print.

Murphy, Antoin E.; Prendergast, Renee “Contributions to the History of Economic Thought-Essays in Honour of R.D.C. Black”
Taylor and Francis, 2000.

Nolan, Mark C. “Keynes’ View on Self-sufficiency.” The Irish Times. 7 Aug. 2012. Web.

O’Connor, J. J., and E. F. Robertson. “Robert Charles Geary.” MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive. School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland. Web.

“Online Catalogue.” Library of Congress. Web. 22 June 2017.

“Online Library of Liberty.” Online Library of Liberty. Liberty Fund, 10 Apr. 2014. Web. 22 June 2017.

“Oxford DNB Resources.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. David Cannadine. Oxford University Press, 2014-2017.

Preston, Ian. “Women, Economics and UCL in the Late 19th Century.” Women, Economics and UCL in the Late 19th Century. 20 May 2015. Web.

Scott, William Robert. Francis Hutcheson: His Life, Teaching and Position in the History of Philosophy. Cambridge, 1900. Print.

 

London Economics History

Professor Ian Preston at UCL has produced various resources on the history of Economics in London, including a wonderful map of 16 walking tours. His website contains a lot of information about the development of Economics throughout the centuries and is a terrific resource.

There are quite a few Irish connections, not least JE Cairnes and FY Edgeworth. A particularly interesting connection is the presence of Dublin-born Sophie Bryant in the first class of women to take part in co-educational university education. Sophie Bryant was an interesting person with several achievements and was awarded an honorary doctorate by TCD shortly after they had started to award degrees to women. She was profiled recently by the Irish Times.

Stimulated by Ian’s work, I am putting together a resource for Dublin and will do a walking tour on Sunday July 16th (sign-up page here). Will post further details in the next few weeks. A working version of our Dublin map is available but not ready for public distribution. If there are any particularly eager people who might be willing to look at it and comment, I would welcome emails.

Annual Report on Public Debt

It seemed to slip under the radar but last week the Department of Finance published the first Annual Report on Public Debt Debt in Ireland.  It is a really useful publication and the first report reviews public debt developments since 1995 and particularly the huge build-up of debt since 2008.  The forward-looking analysis is also very good.

The report can be accessed here.