New Horizons in the Economics of Sport series
Edited by Richard Pomfret and John K. Wilson
Chapter 1: Sports economics and the sports industry: perspectives in economic history
Sport is a multi-billion dollar industry. Television rights are keenly competed over by rival broadcasters. Textile manufacturers capitalize on the popularity and at times tribal following of sporting teams. Players who were once amateurs often command salaries which dwarf some of those paid to the most highly-paid professionals in the labour market. Governments are heavily involved in the sector – they provide subsidies and allow regulatory exemptions from rules that would be binding for many non-sports sectors. How did this come about? As the prominence and importance of sport as an industry has risen, so too has public and academic interest. Media and fans pore over statistics and relish the chance to try and predict often unpredictable results. In economics, a significant literature has emerged. Topics range from analysis of major public policy issues such as corruption of governing bodies and subsidies to the sector by governments through to game theoretic predictions over player behaviour. This literature is large and rich with different questions and applications.