Pay Dirt: The Business of Professional Team Sports

Pay Dirt: The Business of Professional Team Sports

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by James Quirk, Rodney D. Fort
     
 

Why would a Japanese millionaire want to buy the Seattle Mariners baseball team, when he has admitted that he has never played in or even seen a baseball game? Cash is the answer: major league baseball, like professional football, basketball, and hockey, is now big business with the potential to bring millions of dollars in profits to owners. Not very long ago,… See more details below

Overview

Why would a Japanese millionaire want to buy the Seattle Mariners baseball team, when he has admitted that he has never played in or even seen a baseball game? Cash is the answer: major league baseball, like professional football, basketball, and hockey, is now big business with the potential to bring millions of dollars in profits to owners. Not very long ago, however, buying a sports franchise was a hazardous investment risked only by die-hard fans wealthy enough to lose parts of fortunes made in other businesses. What forces have changed team ownership from sports-fan folly to big-business savvy? Why has The Wall Street Journal become popular reading in pro sports locker rooms? And why are sports pages now dominated by economic clashes between owners and players, cities with franchises and cities lacking franchises, leagues and players' unions, and team lawyers and players' lawyers? In answering these questions, James Quirk and Rodney Fort have written the most complete book on the business and economics of professional sports, past and present. Pay Dirt offers a wealth of information and analysis on the reserve clause, salary determination, competitive balance in sports leagues, the market for franchises, tax sheltering, arenas and stadiums, and rival leagues. The authors present an abundance of historical material, much of it new, including team ownership histories and data on attendance, TV revenue, stadium and arena contracts, and revenues and costs. League histories, team statistics, stories about players and owners, and sports lore of all kinds embellish the work. Quirk and Fort are writing for anyone interested in sports in the 1990s: players, players' agents, general managers, sportswriters, and, most of all, sports fans.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Books examining the financial aspects of American sports have proliferated recently, but none offers the range and depth of this first volume in a projected two-volume study. Quirk, a retired economics professor at Cal Tech, and Fort, an associate professor of economics at Washington State University, cover professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey in their definitive study. They examine the prices and values of sports franchises; the tax shelters developed by owners; the real and imaginary worth of stadiums and arenas, both publicly and privately owned; the reserve clause, designed to limit players' mobility; the increasing inequity of players' salaries; the attempts to secure and retain competitive balance in various leagues with a view to the maximization of profits; and the establishment of rival leagues (``a very risky business''). In every chapter the authors document their arguments with copious statistics. General readers may find the text more technical than they would like, but this is certainly important reading for anyone engaged in sports at any level. Illustrations. (Dec.)
Library Journal
News headlines within the past few months have begun to resemble a ``Who's on first?'' routine. The commissioners of both major league baseball and the National Hockey League have been forced to resign, the free agency issue has erupted in the National Football League, and a baseball team may leave one Bay Area for another. The authors have combined factual and entertaining anecdotes with economics for an in-depth analysis of the business side of professional sports, past and present. Ranging from an era of risky investments undertaken by team owners before television to the escalating mega-million-dollar franchise costs and player salaries of the 1990s, Pay Dirt scores big with the story behind the complex entrepreneurial side of team sports. Valuable for its historical material and its insight into sports as big business, this book will be a plus for any collection serving sports fans.-- Albert Spencer, Coll. of Education, Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas
The Sporting News - Steve Gietschier
Call this volume The Wealth of Nations of professional sports. Unrivaled in scope, the [book] should stand for quite some time as the basic work from which all descendants will spring.
Journal of Political Economy - Gerald Scully
The book is written in a reader-friendly fashion, is chock-full of anecdotes, is conceptually sound, and is bulging with useful data. Pay Dirt is a solid scholarly contribution to the literature on the economics of sports.
From the Publisher
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1993

"Call this volume The Wealth of Nations of professional sports. Unrivaled in scope, the [book] should stand for quite some time as the basic work from which all descendants will spring."—Steve Gietschier, The Sporting News

"The book is written in a reader-friendly fashion, is chock-full of anecdotes, is conceptually sound, and is bulging with useful data. Pay Dirt is a solid scholarly contribution to the literature on the economics of sports."—Gerald Scully, Journal of Political Economy

Journal of Political Economy
The book is written in a reader-friendly fashion, is chock-full of anecdotes, is conceptually sound, and is bulging with useful data. Pay Dirt is a solid scholarly contribution to the literature on the economics of sports.
— Gerald Scully
The Sporting News
Call this volume The Wealth of Nations of professional sports. Unrivaled in scope, the [book] should stand for quite some time as the basic work from which all descendants will spring.
— Steve Gietschier

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691042558
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
11/17/1992
Pages:
564
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.61(h) x 1.52(d)

What People are saying about this

George Will
Blending illuminating (and entertaining) anecdotes with economic analysis, James Quirk leads readers through the increasingly complex labyrinth of a significant industry—professional sports. Along the way he slays the notion that economics is the 'dismal science.' He demonstrates that decisions made in the executive offices of sports franchises can be as fascinating as, and can influence, what happens in the games. All Americans are involved in the sports business as ticketbuyers, taxpayers, and participants in the culture that shapes and is shaped by professional sports. So there should be a wide readership for this intelligent guide to reading newspapers' sports pages, which increasingly resemble business pages.

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