Historical Perspectives on Sports Economics
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Historical Perspectives on Sports Economics

Lessons from the Field

Edited by John K. Wilson and Richard Pomfret

The sports sector, apart from being of economic significance in itself, is clearly one that many citizens share a great interest in. It is not mere results, but aspects such as history, statistics, interest in labour markets and finances that often spark people’s interest. Historical Perspectives on Sports Economics explores a variety of topics including mega-event analysis, sports governance, anthropometrics, gambling, industrial organisation, infrastructure development and racial issues. 
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Chapter 2: From recreational sports clubs to sports businesses: Bradford and Queens Park football clubs 1860s-1914

John Dewhirst and Wray Vamplew


All sports clubs, whether profit oriented or not, need to hire or buy premises, set membership fees and fund their activities: in other words make business decisions. This chapter builds on the idea that clubs need to be concerned with economic matters and attempts to develop a framework by which the business operations of a sports club can be analysed. It is done by comparing the decision-taking of two football clubs, Bradford in England and Queen’s Park in Scotland, from the 1860s to 1914 as they transitioned from recreational football clubs to operating as sports businesses. The approach incorporates three distinct parts: an environmental review which assesses external themes and the economic factors that shaped change; a transformational review that looks at the dynamics of becoming a business; and an organisational review which examines the internal characteristics of the clubs as businesses and the industrialised delivery configuration of an entertainment product.

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