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The superstar phenomenon in our economy has wide implications and fosters debate on the issues of wealth and income inequality. This paper analyzes the superstar phenomenon in England’s top soccer league, the English Premier League (EPL), and what variables are most important to superstar compensation. Past superstar literature cites the importance of the debate of talent versus popularity. Using a dataset of the top 12% highest-paid players in the EPL by annual salary in 2021-2022, this paper creates an econometric model of talent and popularity variables using two different dependent variables, one being the annual salary of players and the other the industry-renowned transfermarkt.com market value. This paper found that the control variables, such as a player’s position and what team they’re on are most important to salary compensation. “Talent” variables such as goals, match rating, and control variable age were most important for market value. Popularity, measured by how many Instagram followers a player has, was not important for both salary and market value. The combined talent and popularity variable, the video game FIFA 21 rating, was the only variable significant to both salary and market value. This study suggests that talent comes first and popularity comes second.
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Knoth, Bobby, "Talent or Popularity? Analysis of the Superstar Phenomenon and Player Value Determination in the English Premier League" (2022). Senior Projects Spring 2022. 188.
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