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Rottenberg and the Economics of Sport after 50 years: An Evaluation

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  • Peter J. Sloane

    (University of Wales Swansea)

Abstract

Simon Rottenberg’s seminal 1956 article in the Journal of Political Economy, 1956, is generally accepted as the starting point for the development of the economics of sport. While he recognised that certain features of professional sports leagues were unusual he saw little reason to treat this industry any differently from a conventional industry. He discusses the importance of uncertainty of outcome, the monopsonistic nature of the labour market, the nature of the product and demand (attendances). He considers alternatives to the reserve clause, such as equal revenue sharing, maximum salary limits, equal market franchise distribution and roster limits. Each of these is rejected in favour of a free market solution which, on the basis of the invariance principle, he suggests will perform just as well as the reserve clause in allocating talent to where it is most productive. The ensuing literature has focused on all these issues, many of which have created considerable debate amongst sports economists. In particular the assumption of profit maximisation has been challenged and a divergence of views, reflected in the so-called North American and European models of sports leagues has emerged. Over the last 50 years sports leagues have expanded, TV markets have opened up and legal challenges to existing practices have multiplied. This paper seeks to evaluate Rottenberg’s contribution to a rapidly expanding field and to judge its relevance today.
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Suggested Citation

  • Peter J. Sloane, 2006. "Rottenberg and the Economics of Sport after 50 years: An Evaluation," IASE Conference Papers 0642, International Association of Sports Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:spe:cpaper:0642
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    Cited by:

    1. Oliver Budzinski & Janina Satzer, 2011. "Sports Business and Multisided Markets: Towards a New Analytical Framework? (Long Version)," Working Papers 1104, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
    2. Oliver Budzinski & Janina Satzer, 2008. "Sports Business and the Theory of Multisided Markets," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200811, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    3. Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2011. "Work out or out of work -- The labor market return to physical fitness and leisure sports activities," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 399-409, June.
    4. Scelles, Nicolas & Duran, Christophe & Bonnal, Liliane & Goyeau, Daniel & Andreff, Wladimir, 2016. "Do all sporting prizes have a significant positive impact on attendance in a European national football league? Competitive intensity in the French Ligue 1," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 3, pages 82-107, June.
    5. Pfeifer, Christian & Cornelißen, Thomas, 2010. "The impact of participation in sports on educational attainment--New evidence from Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 94-103, February.
    6. Martin Grossmann & Helmut Dietl & Markus Lang, 2010. "Revenue Sharing and Competitive Balance in a Dynamic Contest Model," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 36(1), pages 17-36, February.
    7. Dorian Owen, 2014. "Measurement of competitive balance and uncertainty of outcome," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Professional Football, chapter 3, pages 41-59 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Patrick Massey & Shane Massey & Vincent (Vincent Peter) Hogan, 2012. "Analysing Determinants of Match Attendance in the European Rugby Cup," Working Papers 201228, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    9. Raul Caruso & Ilaria Verri, 2009. "Competitive Balance dopo la sentenza Bosman: il caso della pallavolo in Italia," Rivista di Diritto ed Economia dello Sport, Centro di diritto e business dello Sport, vol. 5(1), pages 59-79, Maggio.
    10. Roger Noll, 2006. "Sports Economics at Fifty," Discussion Papers 06-011, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    11. Marco Di Domizio & Mattia Palombini, 2011. "Competitività orizzontale e verticale nel ciclismo professionistico: alcune riflessioni sul circuito pro tour," Rivista di Diritto ed Economia dello Sport, Centro di diritto e business dello Sport, vol. 6(3), pages 35-54, Febbraio.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    sports economics;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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