Why study the economics of professional sports? Why study the economics of the revenue-generating amateur sports such as the Olympics and intercollegiate sports in the USA? The answer ‘Because these sports represent a substantial share of the gross national product’ is simply wrong. The spectator sports industry for both professional and amateur sports is a trivial component of all national economies. In the USA its revenues are dwarfed by mundane industries such as meatpacking. The total revenue in professional sports is about 12 per cent of the total revenue in meatpacking. Two correct answers to the question are that the sports industry raises fascinating economic questions and that sports have been a high-profile component of all societies for more than 4,000 years. The Greeks and the Romans made sport a central part of their society. They built their cities with sports facilities as the centerpieces. Mayan civilization in Central America also emphasized sport. The public enthusiasm for spectator sports continues unabated in modern times. There are courses in the economics of sports rather than the economics of meatpacking because sport is a rich area for economic analysis and because societies care a great deal about sports. Beginning in the 1950s, economists have published hundreds of papers on the sports industry. The economics of sport is now a significant branch of economics.
KeywordsProfessional Sport Professional Athlete National Collegiate Athletic Association National Basketball Association Professional Team
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