- Money Games: Profiting from the Convergence of Sports and Entertainment by David M Carter
The business of sports and entertainment rapidly expanded in the last half of the twentieth century. According to David M. Carter, the convergence of sports and entertainment “has been relatively contained” and primarily occurred “in and around sports venues” (p. 1). Today, this convergence is “borderless” and “pervasive,” and it “continues to create business challenges while simultaneously providing significant opportunities for those hoping to make money from it” (p. 1). In essence, Carter claims that sports have become synonymous with entertainment. For example, his analysis of the burgeoning “poker boom” (p. 150) astutely reifies the notion that there is a hazy demarcation point between sports and entertainment. Carter thus focuses on stakeholders, who have monetized the convergence, and offers recommendations for future entrepreneurs about ways in which to profit from the burgeoning industry.
Carter divides Money Games into three sections, arguing that consumers of sports are in distinctive locales: at home, away-from-home, and at-venue. “At-Home Convergence,” Carter explains, includes producers and developers, marketers and distributors, and the athletes who are consumed through television consumption, video-game playing, and athlete branding. “Away-From-Home Convergence,” however, is now the central focus of sports entrepreneurs. Carter examines the ways in which traditional and non-traditional magnates combined sports and entertainment to profit from new consumption opportunities through focusing on the internet, mobile technology, and the growing infatuation with sports gambling. Finally, he encapsulates in “At-Venue Convergence,” the plethora of ways in which businesses attempt to “ensure that the fans, whether corporate or traditional, will have a great game-day experience,” while “spending more freely in the process” (p. 176). The development of real estate in and around sports complexes, a continuance of technological advances for game-day crowds, and “targeted corporate marketing” (p. 177) is included in Carter’s breakdown.
Carter’s work represents an important contemporary examination of the business of sports for members of the academe and the industry. For those in academia, perhaps the book would be an effective teaching tool for classes focused on sports business as his breakdowns of entrepreneurial decisions within sports and entertainment are quite relevant for aspiring members of the industry (although, they will not be applicable for too long as most of his examples are very modern). For example, in his final chapter on corporate marketing, he effectively argues that non-sports corporations—beginning with ESPN and Disney—continue to look for ways in which to build brand equity “to achieve sustainable competitive advantages when utilizing sports marketing” (p. 235). This is an area that is likely to continue and be important for young students of the sports industry. For those already in the business, Carter provides adequate context to explain the expansion of the sports/entertainment convergence and provides conscious insights into the future of [End Page 334] the field. For example, Carter ends each chapter with excerpts from interviews with senior executives within sports business.
There is scant new information for sport historians within Money Games. Carter includes brief histories of his main topics before analyzing the modern market. Perhaps the histories are the most problematic aspect of Money Games. He occasionally asserts the importance of historical moments in the sports/entertainment convergence; however, he fails to connect these occurrences with the ways in which contemporary marketers control their businesses. For example, Carter posits that the “global political strife” of the Olympics “had an impact on the legacy and broadcast elements of the Games” (p. 21). Even with a prolonged analysis of the 2008 Beijing games, however, he does not re-examine politics within the evolution of television broadcasting for the remainder of the chapter.
Moreover, in examining the impact of additional sports coverage for consumers, Carter briefly entertains larger issues within a broader historical context. For example, in an analysis of the ways in which government agencies and the NCAA “have a watchful eye” over sports organizations, Carter...