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Circling the Bases: Essays on the Challenges and Prospects of the Sports Industry

Andrew Zimbalist
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 222
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  • Book Info
    Circling the Bases
    Book Description:

    InCircling the Bases, leading sports economist Andrew Zimbalist continues his discussion and analysis of the major issues and challenges confronting the sports industry in the second decade of the 21st century. Presenting a general overview of the sports business at both the college and professional levels, this volume places concerns such as the antitrust status of sports leagues, the stalled progress of gender equity in college sports, and the control of Performance Enhancing Drugs in historical context.

    Zimbalist also provides a deeper understanding of how sports have fared and changed with the sharpening financial crisis and 2009 economic downturn-from the morphing role of salary caps and revenue distribution and the rapid escalation of college coaches' compensation to the financing of sports facilities and the economic impact of hosting the Olympic Games.

    InCircling the Bases, Zimbalist continues to show how the business of sports is evolving and how the sports industry is becoming more closely linked with the corporate sector and thus more vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the U.S. and world economies. Zimbalist deftly shows how sports are facing the uncertainties of the future and what the implications are for sports fans, players, owners, and leagues.

    eISBN: 978-1-4399-0284-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 Introduction: Perspectives on the Sports Industry Toward the Second Decade of the Twenty-First Century
    (pp. 1-29)

    As the second decade of the twenty-first century begins, the sports industry finds itself facing a shifting landscape. The world economy is attempting to emerge from its deepest downturn in eighty years. The technology and structure of the broadcasting industry is being transformed. The prospect of work stoppages, regarded by many as an immaturity that sports leagues had outgrown, is again rearing its ugly head. Legal cases seek to redefine what a sports league can and cannot do. Men’s and women’s soccer leagues are asserting themselves, seeking more dominant roles in the sporting universe, perhaps supplanting the National Hockey League...

  5. 2 Dollar Dilemmas during the Downturn: A Financial Crossroads for College Sports
    (pp. 30-46)

    This essay undertakes three challenging tasks. First, I attempt to lay out the dimensions of the current financial crisis that confronts intercollegiate athletics. Second, I propose three reforms that I believe, if enacted, would go a long way toward ameliorating the financial situation and also bring the practice of college sports more in line ethically with its purported mission. Third, I assess the prospects of these reforms being carried out, given the history of failed reform efforts in the past.

    Although a group of economists argues that big-time college athletic departments run a surplus in reality, I am not in...

  6. 3 The BCS, Antitrust, and Public Policy
    (pp. 47-74)

    It seems that every year, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) comes under fire. In 2008–2009, Florida (13–1) beat Oklahoma (12–2) to win the putative national championship. No one disputes that Florida and Oklahoma were among the nation’s best teams, but Utah (13–0), USC (12–1), and Texas (12–1) all felt they deserved a shot at the title. Indeed, Texas even beat Oklahoma in a regular season game.

    In place since 1998, the BCS purports to determine the national champion in college football, while preserving the century-old system of postseason bowl games.¹ To make its determination...

  7. 4 Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics: Economic Considerations and Possible Fixes
    (pp. 75-85)

    This essay first briefly reviews the history of Title IX. It then considers ways that women’s sports can continue to be promoted without reducing men’s sports and without increasing athletic budgets.

    Title IX is about gender equity. It is a law that was passed in June 1972 as part of the educational amendments to the civil rights laws of the 1960s. The law simply states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal...

  8. 5 Reflections on Salary Shares Salary Caps
    (pp. 86-99)

    Writing forYahoo! Sports, on November 12, 2007, Jeff Passan asserted that the players’ salary share of Major League Baseball (MLB) revenue in 2007 was only 41.3 percent.¹ Passan’s number was then picked up by Pete Toms, writing forBaseball Digest, and other journalists.² If Passan were correct, or even nearly so, then it would be big news indeed. Because the salary shares in total revenue in the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL) are all in the mid- to high fifties, and MLB is the only one of the four...

  9. 6 Facility Finance: Measurement, Trends, and Analysis
    (pp. 100-116)

    Conventional wisdom has it that the public share of stadium and arena construction costs has been falling in recent years. Many have attributed this perceived decrease in part to the emergence of the academic literature in the 1990s, finding that one cannot expect that a new team or sport facility by itself would promote economic development in an area.¹

    Measuring sports-facility costs is rarely as straightforward as the public authorities, team owners, and newspapers would have us believe. In this essay, we use both the available reported-cost data as well as adjusted-cost data and find that trends in public financing...

  10. 7 Going for Gold: The Financing and Economic Impact of the Olympic Games
    (pp. 117-145)

    The olympic games are among the largest and most visible athletic events in the world. Every two years, the world’s best athletes from some two hundred countries come together to compete in lavish new venues in front of thousands of spectators. Hundreds of millions of sports fans worldwide watch the Games on television.

    The “Olympic Movement,” which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) defines as “all those who agree to be guided by the Olympic Charter and who recognize the authority of the International Olympic Committee,” is the driving force behind the Olympic Games. The stated goal of the Olympic Movement...

  11. 8 Performance-Enhancing Drugs and Antidoping Policy in Major League Baseball: Experience, Incentives, and Challenges
    (pp. 146-170)

    The problem with performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in professional sports has many dimensions. It is commonly agreed that the use of PEDs by professional athletes needs to be combated for the following reasons: (1) It creates unfair competition, (2) it distorts records, (3) it instigates PED use by formerly clean athletes, (4) it endangers the health of users,¹ and (5) it encourages youth to emulate the examples of their favorite players.

    The response to these problems in the United States has been reluctant. The U.S. public, like sports fans around the world, lives vicariously through its teams and its heroes. Star...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 171-214)
  13. Index
    (pp. 215-222)