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Article

Determinants of Football Fans’ Happiness: Evidence from Facial Emotion Recognition

Journal of Happiness Studies. 2020. Vol. 21. P. 1103-1116.

We analyse the determinants of football fans’ happiness in the Russian Premier League using facial emotion recognition. We propose a new way of measuring subjective well-being and provide its empirical validation using sports data. Our sample consists of about 10,000 photos from football matches uploaded on the most popular social network in Russia during the seasons 2014/15–2017/18. The dataset of photos is analysed with the Emotion Recognition software, which takes a facial expression in an image as an input and returns the confidence across a set of emotions for each face in the image. Next we use multinomial logistic regression to identify the determinants of happiness. The results show that uncertainty and expectations are important drivers of football fans’ happiness. A win decreases the probability of being unhappy, and the effect becomes stronger for late rounds of a national championship. The change in happiness because of a home team win is stronger for males.