Carl Singleton, Alex Bryson, Peter Dolton, James Reade, Dominik Schreyer, 31 January 2021

Professional sport has experienced severe shocks from Covid-19, creating natural experiments. These have provided partial answers to a number of questions, including how airborne viruses may spread in crowds; how crowds respond to the risks and news of infection; how the absence of crowds may affect social pressure and decisions; and how quickly betting markets respond to new information. This column reviews the evidence and advises how research in the economics of sport could continue to be most valuable to policymakers.

James Reade, Matthew Olczak, Matthew Yeo, 30 November 2020

The rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus meant that by mid-March 2020, the UK government had stopped outdoor sports from being played in England. Since then, football has resumed behind closed doors, and whether fans should be allowed to attend matches is now the subject of much debate. This column examines whether football matches held in England across February and March helped to spread Covid-19. It finds that attendance at matches resulted in an increase in cases and deaths and concludes that extreme caution should be applied to reopening football to spectators and that there should be close monitoring of any gradual re-opening of stadiums.

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