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Modern soccer is big business. From the ill-received takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family to Paris Saint Germain's current shopping spree for the best footballers on the planet, soccer finance has become an increasingly important part of the game.

Barely a summer goes by now without a cherished club going into administration or a wealthy businessman funding a mid table team's ascension to Champions League competitor. Meanwhile, the twice-annual multi-million dollar merry-go-round of transfer season sees players (and now managers) signed for sums thought impossible just a decade ago. Understanding soccer finance has become essential for comprehending the beautiful game. But for many fans, soccer finance remains, frustratingly, a world that is opaque and difficult to grasp.

Stefan Szymanski, co-author of the bestselling Soccernomics, tackles every soccer fan's burning questions in Money and Soccer: A Soccernomics Guide. From the abolition of the maximum wage in the 1960s, through to the impact of TV money both at home and abroad in the 1990s and 2000s, Szymanski explains how money, or lack of, affects your favorite club. Drawing on extensive research into financial records dating back to the 1970s, Szymanski provides clear analysis of the way that clubs have transformed in the modern era.

This book isn't limited to European clubs. Szymanski, a renowned expert on sports management and economics, looks at what we can learn from comparing the ascension of Europe's biggest clubs to their lofty perches and with new financial models across the world. Through careful research and informative stories drawn from around the globe, Szymanski provides an accessible guide to the world of soccer finance.
This is the story of two great sports. One is "America's game," while the other is "the world's game." Baseball and soccer are both beloved cultural institutions. What draws fans to one game is often a mystery to fans of the other. Despite superficial differences, however, the business and culture of these sports share more in common than meets the eye. This is the first in-depth, cross-cultural comparison of these two great pastimes and the megabusinesses that they have become.

In National Pastime, Stefan Szymanski and Andrew Zimbalist illustrate how the different traditions of each sport have generated different possibilities for their commercial organization and exploitation. They pay special attention to the rich and complex evolution of baseball from its beginnings in America, and they trace modern soccer from its foundation in England through its subsequent expansion across the world. They illustrate how Victorian administrators laid the foundation for Major League Baseball (MLB) and soccer leagues such as the English Premier League, Italy's Serie A, and the European Champions League. The authors show how the organizers of baseball and soccer have learned from each other in the past and how they can continue to do so.

Both sports are rich in tradition. In some cases, however, these traditions—often arbitrary rules established by long-defunct administrators—have obstructed the healthy development of the sport. By studying the experiences of other sports, it might be possible to develop new and better ways to operate. For example, soccer might benefit from greater cooperation among teams as in baseball. On the other hand, MLB could learn from soccer's relegation rules and more open system of ownership, thus avoiding some of the excesses (competitive imbalance, uneven team resources) associated with monopoly.

National Pastime does not advocate the jettisoning of all tradition to adopt wholesale the approach of another sport, of course. In an era of globalization, where business interests are increasingly looking to transplant organizational ideas in order to maximize profits, the authors argue that fan-friendly reforms may be necessary in order to avoid something worse. Ultimately, they propose no simple solutions, instead suggesting specific reforms to the organization of baseball and soccer, drawing on each other's experiences. Lively and accessibly written, this book is essential reading for business analysts, journalists, policymakers, and managers of both sports. Most of all, however, it will appeal to baseball and soccer aficionados, whether they root for the New York Yankees, Manchester United, or Real Madrid.

What economic rules govern sports? How does the sports business differ from other businesses? Playbooks and Checkbooks takes a fascinating step-by-step look at the fundamental economic relationships shaping modern sports. Focusing on the ways that the sports business does and does not overlap with economics, the book uncovers the core paradox at the heart of the sports industry. Unlike other businesses, the sports industry would not survive if competitors obliterated each other to extinction, financially or otherwise--without rivals there is nothing to sell. Playbooks and Checkbooks examines how this unique economic truth plays out in the sports world, both on and off the field.

Noted economist Stefan Szymanski explains how modern sporting contests have evolved; how sports competitions are organized; and how economics has guided antitrust, monopoly, and cartel issues in the sporting world. Szymanski considers the motivation provided by prize money, uncovers discrepancies in players' salaries, and shows why the incentive structure for professional athletes encourages them to cheat through performance-enhancing drugs and match fixing. He also explores how changes in media broadcasting allow owners and athletes to play to a global audience, and why governments continue to publicly fund sporting events such as the Olympics, despite almost certain financial loss.


Using economic tools to reveal the complex arrangements of an industry, Playbooks and Checkbooks illuminates the world of sports through economics, and the world of economics through sports.

Modern soccer is big business. From the ill-received takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family to Paris Saint Germain's current shopping spree for the best footballers on the planet, soccer finance has become an increasingly important part of the game.

Barely a summer goes by now without a cherished club going into administration or a wealthy businessman funding a mid table team's ascension to Champions League competitor. Meanwhile, the twice-annual multi-million dollar merry-go-round of transfer season sees players (and now managers) signed for sums thought impossible just a decade ago. Understanding soccer finance has become essential for comprehending the beautiful game. But for many fans, soccer finance remains, frustratingly, a world that is opaque and difficult to grasp.

Stefan Szymanski, co-author of the bestselling Soccernomics, tackles every soccer fan's burning questions in Money and Soccer: A Soccernomics Guide. From the abolition of the maximum wage in the 1960s, through to the impact of TV money both at home and abroad in the 1990s and 2000s, Szymanski explains how money, or lack of, affects your favorite club. Drawing on extensive research into financial records dating back to the 1970s, Szymanski provides clear analysis of the way that clubs have transformed in the modern era.

This book isn't limited to European clubs. Szymanski, a renowned expert on sports management and economics, looks at what we can learn from comparing the ascension of Europe's biggest clubs to their lofty perches and with new financial models across the world. Through careful research and informative stories drawn from around the globe, Szymanski provides an accessible guide to the world of soccer finance.
The changing fortunes of Detroit, told through the lens of the city’s major sporting events, by the bestselling author of Soccernomics, and a prizewinning cultural critic

“City of Champions is a sweeping‚ gripping‚ and delightfully unconventional history of one of this nation's most important cities‚ told via its most glorious and heartbreaking moments in sports. We come to understand more about ourselves and this city than we ever imagined.”
—Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy

From Ty Cobb and Hank Greenberg to the Bad Boys, from Joe Louis and Gordie Howe to the Malice at the Palace, City of Champions explores the history of Detroit through the stories of its most gifted athletes and most celebrated teams, linking iconic events in the history of Motown sports to the city’s shifting fortunes.

In an era when many teams have left rustbelt cities to relocate elsewhere, Detroit has held on to its franchises, and there is currently great hope in the revival of the city focused on its downtown sports complexes—but to whose benefit? Szymanski and Weineck show how the way Detroit has fared in its stadiums, gyms, and fields is echoed in the rise and fall of the car industry, political upheavals ushered in by the depression, World War 2 and the 1967 uprising, to its recent bankruptcy and renewal.

Driven by the conviction that sports not only mirror society but also have a special power to create both community and enduring narratives that help define a city’s sense of self, City of Champions is a unique history of the most American of cities.

Fans of baseball, football, basketball, and hockey have long been exploited and oppressed by the monopolistic practices of team owners. The time has come for a revolution in the organization of major U.S. sports! Fans of the World, Unite! is a clarion call to sports fans. Appealing to anyone who is in despair due to the greed and incompetence of team owners, this book proposes a significant restructuring of sports leagues. It sets out a rational program for a revolution that will serve the best interests of the fans and of the sport itself. But Stephen F. Ross and Stefan Szymanski are no Marxists: they show how a revolution in the organization of sports might even benefit the owners. By harnessing the power of markets, sports leagues can be made both more responsive to the needs of the fans, and more efficient. Ross and Szymanski have spent many years evaluating the ways in which leagues work across the globe. Drawing on their extensive study of leagues, the authors boil down their plan to two major reforms. Borrowing from NASCAR, they propose that team owners should not own sports leagues as well. Rather, league ownership should be separate. Their second proposal is drawn from soccer: introduce competition through a promotion and relegation system. In this type of system, the worst teams in the league are kicked out at the end of the season and replaced by the best performing teams in the next division down. This gives poor performing teams incentive to step up their game, and allows fresh blood to enter the leagues if the poor performers fail to do so. The main goal of these reforms is to align the financial interest of those who own the league with the best interests of the fans and the sport. Having laid out the problem and the solution, the authors skillfully address practical implications of introducing their scheme, suggesting how leagues might at least make some changes, if not all of those suggested. The time for change has come! Armed with this book, and with fairness on their side, fans can set forth to begin a revolution.
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