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The Bottom Line: Observations and Arguments on the Sports Business

Andrew Zimbalist

Publication Year: 2006

In The Bottom Line, one of the foremost sports economists writing today, Andrew Zimbalist (National Pastime), analyzes the "net value" of sports. He examines motives for why owners buy franchises, the worth of the players and the profitability of teams, and the importance of publicly funded stadiums. In the essays collected here—which appeared in publications like The New York Times, Sports Business Journal, and The Wall Street Journal from 1998-2006—Zimbalist considers the current state of organized sports, from football and baseball to basketball, hockey, and soccer. He also addresses antitrust and labor relations issues, gender equity concerns, collegiate athletics, and the regulation of steroid use, providing readers with a better understanding of the business of sports and the sports business—and what makes both tick.

Published by: Temple University Press


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pp. v-viii

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pp. 1-5

While the examples change, the environments mutate, and the dollars grow, the basic dilemmas and dynamics of the sports industry remain very much the same. Dollar growth is the easy part to document. Between 1990 and 2004, Major League Baseball's gross revenues increased roughly from $1.3 billion to $4.3 billion (annual growth rate of 8.7 percent), the National Basketball Association's...

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Part I. Team Management, Finances, and Value

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pp. 7-61

Richard Jacobs bought the Cleveland Indians with his now deceased brother David in 1986 for $35 million. Two weeks ago, the Indians issued a prospectus detailing plans to sell 4 million ownership shares in the team at a projected price of between $14 and $16 a share....

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Part II. League Structure, Design, and Performance

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pp. 63-127

Americans often form deep attachments to their sports teams. In return, they expect their teams minimally to try to win and to show some loyalty to the communities. When Walter O'Malley moved his Brooklyn Dodgers to Los Angeles in 1958, it marked the era of disloyal teams and changed the sports...

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Part III. Stadiums: Financing, Mega-Events, and Economic Development

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pp. 129-170

The NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB are monopolies. For public-relations purposes, these leagues will contend that they are not monopolies but, instead, just competitors in a large entertainment industry. They are part of the entertainment industry just as my socks, shirt, and jacket are part of the garment industry...

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Part IV. Antitrust and Labor Relations

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pp. 171-227

The romantic view of Major League Baseball's relationship with cities--such as San Diego, where the All-Star Game will be played tonight--is that it is a benevolent partner. After all, a new old-fashioned stadium has revived Baltimore's fortunes. But the realistic view is that baseball squeezes revenues...

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Part V. College Sports and Gender Equity

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pp. 229-282

The NCAA publishes financial surveys of its 930-odd member schools every two years. The 600-plus schools in Divisions II and III run substantial deficits in their athletic departments. The 200-odd schools in Divisions IAA and IAAA also run large athletic deficits. But approximately three-quarters of the 110...

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Part VI. Media and and the Regulation of Steroids

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pp. 283-296

Last fall, Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation (WWF) knocked Monday Night Football from its pedestal atop the television ratings on Monday evenings among the twelve- to twenty-four-year-old male demographic. This is a key demographic not only because its members do a lot of consuming and...


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pp. 297-304

E-ISBN-13: 9781592135141

Publication Year: 2006