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Contemporary Issues in Sports Economics

Participation and Professional Team Sports

Edited by Wladimir Andreff

The development of sports economics has exploded in recent years, and this well-researched and relevant book explores some of the most critical themes. Contemporary Issues in Sports Economics examines topics that have previously received little attention in the literature, such as the determinants and social impacts of sports participation including the link to crime levels. The distinguished authors also discuss some of the less investigated aspects of professional team sports, including: • sports betting, financing and governance; • the impact of low scoring matches on competitive balance and fan appeal in European football; and • the effect on player transfers of a luxury tax on club payrolls in Major League Baseball.
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Jean-François Bourg and Jean-Jacques Gouguet

This timely book offers a critical interpretation of the traditional social and economic accounts of sport. It provides an incisive analysis of professional sport and defines alternative foundations to the present model. The authors demonstrate that professional sport is an extremely complex phenomenon encompassing many unique factors depending on its global reach, financing and organization.
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Public Policy and Professional Sports

International and Australian Experiences

John K. Wilson and Richard Pomfret

Public Policy and Professional Sports​is a comprehensive analysis of public policy aspects of the economics of professional sports, supported by in-depth international case studies. It covers regulation and competition in the sports industry and its labour markets, public spending on stadiums and mega-events, and governance issues including unethical behaviour (corruption, doping, etc). The innovative feature of the work is the combination of economic analysis and well-known international examples with detailed case studies​ of public policy as it relates to sport in Australia. Australia​is an excellent case study due to the high profile of sport in the national psyche and the range of popular professional sports.
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Richard Pomfret

This chapter examines the origins of modern professional sports, and the increase in the geographical scope of professional sports in the second half of the twentieth century, associated with radio and TV and air transport. It analyzes the distribution of the large rents being generated from sports as a result of these historical trends, as well as the professionalization of management and use of big data to improve sporting performance and to increase the size of revenues or influence distribution of rents. Sports industries have often obtained general exemptions from competition policy, workplace rules, and other regulations, as well as attracting state spending both in support of professional sports and associated with the mega-events controlled by monopolies such as the International Olympics Committee, FIFA or Formula One car racing, whose governance has been associated with corrupt practices. The final section offers concluding observations.

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Akihiko Kawaura and Sumner La Croix

Teams in Japan’s two professional baseball leagues began to add foreign players to their rosters in the early 1950s, with the average number of foreign players per team reaching 5.79 in 2004. One reason for teams’ increased use of foreign players was that foreign hitters substantially outperformed Japanese hitters. This was due in part to binding roster caps on the number of foreign players per team. High performance was coupled with a very short tenure, with median tenure varying between one and two seasons between 1958 and 2004. We find that foreign players were hired either near the beginning or the end of their careers, with the median age of a foreign player exceeding 30 years. Our analysis shows that Japanese teams used foreign players as a “quick fix” to fill important positions in their starting line-ups. Over time, as US and Japanese markets for baseball players changed and became more integrated with others, the characteristics, tenure, and performance of foreign players in Japan also changed. We use a sample with all foreign baseball players who played one season or more in Japan to test hypotheses regarding how changes in the player market would affect baseball players’ age, tenure, and batting performance.

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Jean-François Mignot

Since its creation in 1903, the Tour de France has remained the biggest of all professional cycling events. This chapter aims to present three aspects of the economic history of the Tour de France and what they tell us about the economic history of sport. First, the Tour has always been owned by private newspaper and media companies. This is why I analyze the level and composition of these companies’ turnover, their business strategies and the reasons for their overall success. Second, Tour riders have always been professionals. This is why I analyze riders’ incomes and prize money and their distribution, which shows clear “winner-takes-all” aspects. Third, the demand for sport shows by Tour spectators reveals broad trends in Europe’s economic history since the early 20th century: the diffusion of bicycles, newspapers and mass consumption, the increase in leisure time, and the advent of the mass media.

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John K. Wilson

In professional team sports, a variety of labour market and revenue sharing arrangements are imposed in order to maintain competitive balance. The efficacy of these measures is rarely challenged, though there is little doubt that they stifle innovation among teams, potentially deter clubs from investing in young talent, and reduce the surplus for players, both in wages received and non-pecuniary benefits such as where they live. While competitive balance may benefit teams who are more certain to maintain their market power, the stated goal is usually centred on maintaining fan interest and on getting people through the gates. This chapter uses data from the SANFL – an established and highly popular Australian football competition during the twentieth century – to assess the impact of competitive balance on crowd attendance for both minor round and major round games.

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Lionel Frost, Margaret Lightbody, Abdel K. Halabi, Amanda J. Carter and Luc Borrowman

Shared use of grounds allowed Australian cricket and football to subsidize each other, but cartel arrangements that determined the use of stadiums and the distribution of benefits and costs between sports may have been less than optimal. Estimation of deadweight losses from the use of stadiums is not possible in the absence of a counterfactual specifying the level of demand if the behaviour of cartel members had been coordinated more effectively. Archival, financial and attendance report data can be used to estimate increases in actual demand under alternative scenarios. In Melbourne and Adelaide, the controlling bodies of cricket and football uncured significant losses in welfare from joint use of their cities’ major stadium, due to the importance they attached to non-monetary aspects of utility.

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Wray Vamplew

This chapter establishes a chronology of development of work-associated sport. It analyses the workplace as a stimulus to sporting activity, and looks at whether the stimulus has come from employers or employees, what sports were offered and what facilities were provided.