Circling the Bases

Essays on the Challenges and Prospects of the Sports Industry

Andrew Zimbalist
Book Cover

PB: $28.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0283-7
Publication: Nov 10

HC: $71.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-0282-0
Publication: Nov 10

Ebook: $28.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0284-4
Publication: Nov 10

234 pages
5.5 x 8.25
14 tables

A look at the future of the business of sports in America

Read the Preface (pdf).


In Circling the Bases, leading sports economist Andrew Zimbalist continues his discussion and analysis of the major issues and challenges confronting the sports industry in the second decade of the 21st century. Presenting a general overview of the sports business at both the college and professional levels, this volume places concerns such as the antitrust status of sports leagues, the stalled progress of gender equity in college sports, and the control of Performance Enhancing Drugs in historical context.

Zimbalist also provides a deeper understanding of how sports have fared and changed with the sharpening financial crisis and 2009 economic downturn—from the morphing role of salary caps and revenue distribution and the rapid escalation of college coaches' compensation to the financing of sports facilities and the economic impact of hosting the Olympic Games.

In Circling the Bases, Zimbalist continues to show how the business of sports is evolving and how the sports industry is becoming more closely linked with the corporate sector and thus more vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the U.S. and world economies. Zimbalist deftly shows how sports are facing the uncertainties of the future and what the implications are for sports fans, players, owners, and leagues.


"Andrew Zimbalist's essays in Circling the Bases are not only original, thoughtful and provocative, but they are valuable in showing, again and again, whether in collegiate or professional sports or in the Olympic ‘movement,’ that so much accepted wisdom about sports economics is, in fact, false. Zimbalist is the best in his field, and he has never spoken so clearly in both dollars and sense."
Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated and NPR Commentator

"Andy Zimbalist is a hall-of -famer in the economic analysis of sport. Here he shows yet again how economic principles can be used to understand the issues, from steroids to stadium finance, from gate revenues to gender equality. Required reading."
Stefan Szymanski, Professor of Economics at Cass Business School, City University London

"The business of sports is complex—more complex than many fans and journalists recognize. Andrew Zimbalist, alone among economists, understands the industry's unique dynamics. In Circling the Bases , Zimbalist explores the state of both collegiate and professional sports in shifting economic, broadcast and labor landscapes. Every page is enlightening, even for those of us who cover sports for a living."
Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports

"Zimbalist goes in-depth regarding economic issues facing the 'Big 4' (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL), as well as 'amateur' athletic associations (NCAA and the Olympics). Zimbalist also touches on some of the financial concerns surrounding the public subsidization of athletic facilities, Title IX and performance-enhancing drugs in relation to federal, global and public policy....Changing gears to the world of 'amateur' sport, Zimbalist offers keen insight into problems currently facing the NCAA."

"Circling the Bases ...offers a realistic look at the 'merry-go-round' of sports -- including essays about salary shares and revenue distribution, facility financing, labor relations, antitrust law and performance-enhancing drugs.... (R)ecommended reading for those inside the league and front offices of all sports.... (I)f you are among those who love numbers and love to wax authoritative about the national pastime year-round, Circling the Bases might be an important research piece to become more educated about the business inside sports."

"(E)ach (chapter) offers a good beginning for intelligent general readers who want to know a little about a particular topic. The detailed endnotes are a solid complement and invaluable for scholars who want to know more--and do more--about one or more of these issues. Summing Up: Recommended."

"Zimbalist is one of the US's most prolific (and seemingly omnipresent) authors and commentators on sports economics issues, from popular media outlets to professional academic journals.... (The book) offers a good beginning for intelligent general readers who want to know a little about a particular topic. The detailed endnotes are a solid complement and invaluable for scholars who want to know more--and do more--about one or more of these issues. Summing Up: Recommended."

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Perspectives on the Sports Industry Toward the Second Decade of the Twenty-First Century
2 Dollar Dilemmas during the Downturn: A Financial Crossroads for College Sports
3 The BCS, Antitrust, and Public Policy
4 Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics: Economic Considerations and Possible Fixes
5 Reflections on Salary Shares and Salary Caps
6 Facility Finance: Measurement, Trends, and Analysis
7 Going for Gold: The Financing and Economic Impact of the Olympic Games
8 Performance-Enhancing Drugs and Antidoping Policy in Major League Baseball: Experience, Incentives, and Challenges

About the Author(s)

Andrew Zimbalist is Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith College. He is the author or editor of nineteen previous books, including The Bottom Line: Observations and Arguments on the Sports Business (Temple) and In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig. He is a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Sports Economics, and has consulted extensively in the sports industry for players associations, leagues, cities, and owners.