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Major League Losers: The Real Cost Of Sports And Who's Paying For It Paperback – July 9, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Revised edition (July 9, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465071430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465071432
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,438,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Rosentraub (Urban Policy Problems, Greenwood, 1986) has written a detailed, sober study of the complex relationship between pro sports owners and public officials, who have become significantly intertwined as more public monies are spent to attract and keep sports franchises. The elaborate economics of this "welfare for sports owners" are analyzed thoroughly, with the result being Rosentraub's reasoned suggestion that there is insufficient return on the investment of the hundreds of millions that owners usually want. He also explains the powerful interest communities have in the professional sports franchise. Look for the author to be in heavy demand on the talk-show circuit and in open debate with owners. His solid, complete examination will stand as the definitive study of a controversial subject. It should be required reading for business majors and especially for mayors and other public officials. Highly recommended for all libraries.?Dale F. Farris, Groves, Tex.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

This dense and sometimes difficult financial analysis leads to easily understood and sensible conclusions about the business of sports. Rosentraub (of the Center for Urban Policy and the Environment at Indiana Univ.) is an avid sports fan who concedes the substantial intangible benefits a city can reap from a successful sports franchise. The goal of this exhaustive study, however, is to demonstrate that, economically, cities that spend millions to attract these franchises come out barely even or, more often, wind up deep in the hole. Rosentraub studies the finances of stadium projects in such cities as Indianapolis, Cleveland, St. Louis, Toronto, and Montreal. Indianapolis, for instance, tried to revitalize its sleepy image and its deteriorating downtown through a multipronged strategy of attracting both professional and amateur athletic activity. But in the end it merely demonstrated Rosentraub's claim that sports is too small a part of any city's economy to generate much growth in terms of jobs and income, nor do profits spill over into other businesses in the community. Team owners, he argues, blackmail cities into huge ``welfare'' subsidies that ``transfer . . . wealth from the lower and middle classes to the upper class.'' They are able to do so because ``sports cartels'' insure that ``the number of cities that want teams exceeds the supply,'' thus setting off bidding wars among locales. Rosentraub's solution: End the cartels, get the government out of sports, and let the free market rule. Acknowledging the substantial obstacles to such obvious but radical remedies, he argues that taxpayers at the least must demand to know who pays and who profits, and then decide just how much the intangible benefits of sports are worth. Every New Yorker, especially Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, must read this book before agreeing to a billion-dollar-plus stadium for the Yankees. Ditto for other cities contemplating the construction of a new stadium. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1997
Format: Hardcover

Mark S. Rosentraub, Major League Losers: The Real Cost of Sports And Who's Paying For It: Basic Books, 1997, $27.50, 513 pages.

Within the past generation, the pro sports team owner has become one of the top threats to state and local taxpayers. He has achieved this position by hiring hack economists to conduct trumped-up economic studies purporting to show that new sports arenas will bring large financial returns to the general public.

In his new book, Major League Losers, economist Mark S. Rosentraub shows very persuasively how pro sports arenas do not generate the economic returns to the general public that the owners claim, and therefore public subsidies are not justified.

Major League Losers is more than an economics book, and Rosentraub more than an economics professor. The book is written not for the policy wonk or academic, but rather for the sports fan and the taxpayer. Rosentraub covers the issue from the perspective of a concerned citizen and avid sports fan who just happens to be an economist rather than an economist looking to win tenure.

Rosentraub, a professor at Indiana University at Indianapolis and an Indiana Pacers season ticket holder, begins his book by laying down a little background so the reader will not jump straight into a bunch of economic mumbo jumbo.

In the first chapter Rosentraub outlines in simple terms how a city's economy works and how professional sports fit into that economy. In the second chapter he gets into a bit of psychology by explaining why sports occupy so exalted a position that they can garner public subsidies when other, far more important industries cannot.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 25, 1997
Format: Hardcover
In today's big-time professional sports business, the relationship of pro sports owners and public
officials has become significantly intertwined, as more and more public monies are risked to keep or
attract a pro sport franchise in a community. Author Mark S. Rosentraub has written a sober study
of the complexities of this "welfare for sports owners" that will stand as the classic definitive study of
this issue. Rosentraub thoroughly analyzes the economic complexities of public subsidies of pro
sports, with his well-reasoned recommendation that public subsidies do not return on the investment
at a level high enough to warrant the tremendous risk of the hundreds of millions that owners usually
want. The details are all here on the fascinating stories of owners and public officials from the
communities of St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Arlington, Texas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Ontario, Toronto,
Cleveland, and others. Rosentraub also explains the powerful, almost mythical interest of a
community in a professional sports franchise, that helps to better understand this sordid joining at the
hip of this business with a community. This is a solid, complete analysis of this very controversial
topic that should be required reading by business majors, and especially mayors and other public
officials who may think a professional sport franchise will "save" their community. Rosentraub should
be called in, before they sink their precious tax dollars into this black hole. Look for the author to be
in heavy demand on the talk show circuit and in open debates with owners. At almost 500 pages,
Rosentraub's obvious hard work clearly shows his preeminent status as the play-by-play announcer
par excellance of pro sports franchises.
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