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Sports Economics

Department of Economics
Sports Economics 50-220-212-02
Room: ATG 101
Semester: Spring 2013
Day/Time: MW 4:20pm-5:40pm

Instructor: Jonathan R. Brown
Office: Dept. of Economics ATG 316
Email: jbrown.econ@rutgers.edu
Office Hours: MW 3:00pm-4:15pm or by appointment


  • The Economics of Sports by Michael Leeds, Peter von Allmen

Supplemental Readings:

  • Stumbling on Wins by Berri and Schmidt
  • The Baseball Economist by Bradbury
  • Baseball Between the Numbers by Baseball Prospectus

Statement on Academic Freedom:

Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The University has adopted a policy on Student and Faculty Academic Rights and Responsibilities that can be accessed through the following link: http://policies.rutgers.edu/PDF/Section60/60.5.1-current.pdf

Course Goals and Methods:

This course is designed to take foundational microeconomic theory and apply it to the sports industry of the United States. We will be exploring the application of various subsets of microeconomic theory including Industrial Organization, Labor Economics, and Public Economics. The learning structure is lecture and discussion based. Students are expected to come to class having adequately prepared to participate. This preparation includes advanced reading of the textbook topics and formulating questions throughout the week regarding the material and/or relevant real-world examples. The class is analytical and requires a strong foundation in fundamental algebra.

Course Policies:

This class meets approximately 4.5 hours a week. Students can expect 4 to 6 hours of preparation (reading, reflecting, preparing written assignments, reviewing notes, preparing for tests, etc.) per week.

Policy on Academic Honesty:

Strict adherence Rutgers University’s Academic honesty policy is expected. A full description of the policy and guidelines can be found here: http://academicintegrity.rutgers.edu/

Course Grade:

The course grade for this course will be determined according to the following formula:

Homework 25%
Midterm 25%
Paper 15%
Final Examination 35%

Letter grades for the entire course will be assigned as follows:

[93%-100%] = A [80%-83%) = B- [67%-70%) = D+
[90.0 -93.0%) = A- [77% -80%) = C+ [63% -67%) = D
[87%-90%) = B+ [73%-77%) = C [60%-63%) = D
[83% -87%) = B [70% -73%) = C- Below 60% = F


Homework will be assigned regularly and will be due at the beginning of each class. No late homework will be accepted without a legitimate excuse (illness, family emergency, etc) prior to the deadline. If you know that you will have to miss class on a particular date, you may chose to submit your homework assignment in advance, preferably via email.


The paper will be 5-7 pages in length. Sources are to include one book from the provided list of supplemental readings, or a book approved by the instructor, and additional material from a reputable news source. The paper will take one of the sports economics concepts covered in class (and explored with additional depth by an approved author), and apply it to a topic relevant to the sports industry today.


Midterm will consist of several different kinds of problems/questions similar to those we will have done in class. More detailed information will be provided in advance of the midterm. There will be one midterm during the course of the semester, and a final exam.

Final Examination will be 2 hours in length and will consist of the same kinds of activities and tasks represented on the tests. More information will be provided by the end of the semester.

Course Schedule:

Introduction and Review of Economics Concepts: Weeks 1-2

  • Chapter 1: Economics and Sports
  • Chapter 2: Review of the Economist’s Arsenal

The Industrial Organization of Sports: Weeks 3-6

  • Chapter 3: Sports Franchises as Profit Maximizing Firms
  • Chapter 4: Monopoly and Antitrust
  • Chapter 5: Competitive Balance

Public Finance and Sports Weeks 7-8

  • Chapter 6: The Public Finance of Sports – The Market for Teams
  • Chapter 7: The Costs and Benefits of a Franchise to a city


The Labor Economics of Sports Weeks 9-12

  • Chapter 8: An Introduction to the Labor Markers in Professional Sports
  • Chapter 9: Labor Market Imperfections
  • Chapter 10: Discrimination

Sports for the Not-for-Profit Sector Weeks 13-15

  • Chapter 11: The Economics of Amateurism and College Sports
  • Review