Show Me The Money: The Business of Sports in America

Apr 30, 2004


Raymond Sauer
Professor of Economics
Clemson University

Click Here to listen to audio archive.

Without a doubt, baseball and other professional sports are a great source of entertainment and community pride.  Athletic teams on all levels attract a devoted and faithful following in cities and towns across the nation.  But over the past few decades, sports in America has also become a great source of controversy as well.  With monopoly protection from the federal government and public financing of stadiums from state and local entities, team owners are relying increasingly on public support as a means to protect and promote their personal business interests.  Furthermore, the dramatic escalation of player salaries troubles many fans and non-fans alike.  But what is at the root of these issues and what, if anything, can policymakers do about it?

In this session, attendees will examine sports through the lens of economics.  Dr. Sauer will discuss the “business of sports.”  He will explain the elements and implications of monopoly in professional athletics, and present the economic explanation for the dramatic increases in player salaries.  Some questions that will be covered include:

  • What are the implications of “monopoly sports” and what happens if the monopolies are busted?
  • What is the “market value” of a player and how is it determined? Why have salaries soared in recent years?
  • Is this the year that the Boston Red Sox finally overcome the curse of the Bambino?