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Circling the Bases

Essays on the Challenges and Prospects of the Sports Industry

Authored by Andrew Zimbalist

Publication Year: 2011

In Circling 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.

In Circling 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.

Published by: Temple University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xi

LANCE ARMSTRONG, Tiger Woods, LeBron James, or Roger Clemens--take your pick. Our demigods have let us down, but professional sports continue to flourish, intermittent sputtering notwithstanding. After all, Shakespeare's heroes had tragic flaws and that only heightened our interest. And, besides, as a society we love sports. ...

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1. Introduction: Perspectives on the Sports Industry Toward the Second Decade of the Twenty-First Century

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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. ...

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2. Dollar Dilemmas during the Downturn: A Financial Crossroads for College Sports

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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. ...

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3. The BCS, Antitrust, and Public Policy

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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. ...

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4. Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics: Economic Considerations and Possible Fixes

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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 mens 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. ...

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5. Reflections on Salary Shares and Salary Caps

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pp. 86-99

WRITING FOR Yahoo! 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 for Baseball Digest, and other journalists.2 ...

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6. Facility Finance: Measurement, Trends, and Analysis

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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 ...

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7. Going for Gold: The Financing and Economic Impact of the Olympic Games

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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. ...

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8. Performance-Enhancing Drugs and Antidoping Policy in Major League Baseball: Experience, Incentives, and Challenges

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pp. 146-170

...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 athletes push the known boundaries of speed, endurance, and strength. ...


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pp. 171-214


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pp. 215-222

E-ISBN-13: 9781439902844
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439902837

Page Count: 222
Publication Year: 2011