Sport and Public Policy: Social, Political, and Economic Perspectives

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Sports figures, events, and organizations affect our society in vast, varied, and sometimes unexpected ways. To gain a broad-based understanding of how sport interfaces with public policy issues, a variety of viewpoints must be considered. Sport and Public Policy: Social, Political, and Economic Perspectives is the only text that examines some of the most compelling policy issues affecting the sports world from an interdisciplinary perspective—including economics, history, urban planning, not-for-profit administration, public health communications, political science, and philosophy. With contributions from a wide range of scholarly disciplines, this contemporary resource enhances traditional conversation and gives readers a fresh outlook on economic and political issues in sport.

Sport and Public Policy presents a contemporary view of how to understand and analyze complex and controversial topics. It begins by examining issues related to professional sports—including the unique nature of American sports leagues, the decisions and conflicts involved in the organization of sports leagues and events, and labor strikes and conflicts. It then examines professional sports, cities, and public finance. Readers are drawn into thought-provoking discussion of issues such as the public investment in sports facilities and recent trends in stadium and arena construction. The book also presents an example of a unique model of not-for-profit community ownership in action, which readers can implement in their own cities.

Sport and Public Policy explores amateur sports by presenting a fresh perspective on the link between sports and society, the dwindling levels of African-American participation in baseball, and whether or not the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s actions align with its stated principles and values. It also challenges the reader to think globally through a discussion of how sports affect and are affected by international relations, how a changing world economy is affecting the Olympic games, Major League Baseball’s efforts at global expansion, and the effects of global consumer marketing efforts.    

The chapters encourage readers to consider their role as participants in sports and use their great power to make individual choices that influence their communities. To enhance the learning experience, Sport and Public Policy offers the following:

An application and implementation section in select chapters helps readers understand how to apply the content in their own roles in the sport industry or society. The case studies added to most chapters illustrate how the information and research are being applied in the real world.   Some of the hottest topics in the sports world are covered from a public policy perspective, giving readers a new angle from which to analyze issues now and in the future.    


Sport and Public Policy is a timely resource that will be valued by many. Researchers will use it as a springboard for further study of how sport affects our society economically, socially, and politically. Practitioners and anyone else interested in the role of sport in America will find the book creates a critical new awareness of sport’s interface with public policy and the potentially far-reaching implications of their decisions. 

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Jennifer Scallin Perez, MS, ATC, LAT (Florida Hospital Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation)
Description: This book provides insight to sports culture and the social challenges that connect the sport with the lives of the athletes. It explores the policies and decision-making processes that are made along with the political implications that may be involved.
Purpose: The purpose is to describe the social, political, and economic implications of sport and the relationship of sport to public policy. This book explores some of these implications and helps readers gain a better understanding of the economic circumstances, political influence, and private powers that influence sports. It lays a substantial foundation for many complex issues and begins to provide some insight.
Audience: This book is written for anyone who is involved in any decision-making or development of professional, collegiate, or developmental programs.
Features: This book has something for everyone who wants to expand their knowledge on a wide array of concepts. The authors generate an awareness of, and an increased interest in, the public policy issues of sports. The book provides insight into the structure of sports, their economic impact, ethical dilemmas, and political implications using a variety of disciplinary perspectives, enabling readers to develop their own philosophical perspective.
Assessment: This is the first book I have come across that provides diverse viewpoints in complex issues in unexpected ways about how sports impact our lives. It provides perspectives from various backgrounds and then allows readers to bring them all together to help them develop a personal philosophy.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780736058711
  • Publisher: Human Kinetics Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/11/2010
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles A. Santo, PhD, is assistant professor of city and regional planning at the University of Memphis in Tennessee. He also serves as coordinator of the Planning Innovations Technology Lab. In addition to having taught courses on sport and public policy, he has published many peer-reviewed articles on the relationship between sport, economic development, and urban public policy. He has been invited to share his research at regional, national, and international conferences. Dr. Santo is a member of the Urban Affairs Association. He earned a PhD in urban studies from PortlandStateUniversity.  

Gerard C. S. Mildner, PhD, has been at PortlandStateUniversity since 1991. Currently he is associate professor of urban studies and planning and director of the Center for Real Estate. Dr. Mildner has written extensively about real estate and location within cities. He is the author of several book chapters, including one on baseball and basketball stadium ownership and franchise incentives to relocate. He is a member of the Urban Affairs Association. He earned his PhD in economics from New YorkUniversity. 

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Table of Contents

Contributors vii

Preface ix

Part I Structure of Professional Sports 1

Chapter 1 Cooperation Amidst Competition 3

The Nature of Sport Leagues Nathaniel Sampson Gerard C.S. Mildner 3

Why League Cooperation is Necessary 4

Downside of Cooperation 6

Organized Baseball: Evolution of a Cartel 8

Antitrust Law Interpretations and Baseball 10

Antitrust and Other Leagues: Age All Sports Equal? 14

Effect of Public Policy on the Balance of Power 18

Future Trends 20

Conclusion 21

Chapter 2 Beyond the Major Leagues 23

Lessons from the Organization of International Sports Gerard C.S. Mildner 23

Organization of Soccer, the World Sport 24

Women's Soccer: The Trial of a Single-Entity League 26

Rugby: The Contest over Professionalism, Nations, and Clubs 27

Cricket: The Broadcasters' Leagues 28

Lessons for American Sports 29

Future Trends 30

Conclusion 31

Chapter 3 Why Professional Athletes Make so Much Money Zenon X. Zygmont 33

The NHL's Missing Season 34

Wage Determination in Professional Sports 35

Free Agency 39

Player Productivity 41

Is it Possible to Pay Too Much? 44

Future Trends 45

Conclusion 46

Part II Professional Sports, Cities, and Public Finance 47

Chapter 4 Economic Impact of Sport Stadiums, Teams, and Events Charles A. Santo 49

Public Cost of Big-Time Sports 49

Economic Magnitude of Sport in Perspective 50

Promoting Sport Investment Through Economic Impact Analysis 53

Sources of Exaggeration in Economic Impact Analysis 57

Ex Post Facto Empirical Evaluations 60

Policy Implications of Relying on Predicted Economic Impacts 63

Conclusion 64

Chapter 5 Cities, Stadiums, and Subsidies 65

Why Cities Spend so much on Sports Charles A. Santo 65

Evolution of Major-League Sport Facility Development 66

Political Economy of Sport Facility Development 83

Importance of Consumption Benefits 87

Future Trends 94

Conclusion 95

Chapter 6 Community Ownership of Professional Sport Teams and the Role of Social Entrepreneurship Dorothy Norris-Tirrell Susan Tomlinson Schmidt 97

Identifying Community Ownership Alternatives 98

Using the Nonprofit-Charitable Purpose Structure: The Memphis Redbirds Baseball Foundation 102

Lessons from the Redbirds Foundation 105

Future Trends 110

Conclusion 111

Part III Amateur Athletics, Participation, and Public Health 113

Chapter 7 Influences of Urban form on Physical Activity Jennifer Dill Lynn Weigand 115

Importance and Decline of Physical Activity in the United States 116

How Urban Growth has made us Less Active 118

Public Policies to Increase Physical Activity 120

Do These Strategies Work? 128

Future Trends 130

Conclusion 131

Chapter 8 MLB's Mixed Messages 133

African American Participation in Baseball David C. Ogden 133

Myth and Semiotics 136

Analyzing MLB's Messages 137

Moving From Political Speech to Myth 139

Challenging Myth 141

Policy Implications for Myth Making 142

Future Trends 144

Conclusion 145

Chapter 9 Contradictions and Conflict 147

Ethical Dilemmas Inherent in Big-Time College Sports Richard M. Southall Mark S. Nagel John Amis Crystal Southall

College Sports Today 149

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) 151

Corporatization in College Sports 152

Institutional Logics 153

Case Study: 2006 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Broadcasts 154

Future Trends 161

Conclusion 163

Chapter 10 Sport, Doping, and Public Policy Bryan E. Denham 165

Mediated Doping Representations and the Formation of Public Policy 167

Sporting Competition and the Formation of Regulatory Bodies 171

Media Representations, Government Hearings, and Public Policy in the 21st Century 173

Future Trends 180

Conclusion 180

Part IV Sport and Globalization 183

Chapter 11 Political Economy of the Olympic Games Greg Andranovich Matthew J. Burbank Charles H. Heying 185

Globalization, the New Economy, and Political Economy 185

Political Economy and the Olympic Games 187

Los Angeles: The Market Matters Most 189

Atlanta: The State Matters Most 192

Mexico City: Civil Society Matters Most 194

Future Trends 195

Conclusion 198

Chapter 12 American Baseball and the Global Labor Market 201

Resistance and Hegemony in the Caribbean Charles A. Santo

Globalization of American Professional Baseball 202

Shared History and Parallel Development of Caribbean Baseball 203

Dominican Dependency, Underdevelopment, and Exploitation 204

Cuban Nationalism and Resistance 206

Movement Along the Spectrum 208

Future Trends 211

Conclusion 213

Chapter 13 Expanding Global Consumer Market for American Sports 215

The World Baseball Classic Mark S. Nagel Matt T. Brown Dan A. Rascher Chad D. McEvoy

Baseball's Worldwide Development 216

Consumption of MLB in the United States 217

Creation of the World Baseball Classic 218

World Baseball Classic Revenue Sources 223

Future Trends 228

Conclusion 229

References 231

Index 257

About the Editors 267

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