The Global Economics of Sportby Pamela Wicker

Managing Leisure


Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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On: 23 December 2014, At: 00:16

Publisher: Routledge

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The Global Economics of Sport

Pamela Wickera a Department of Sport Economics and Sport Management, German Sport

University Cologne

Published online: 17 Feb 2014.

To cite this article: Pamela Wicker (2014) The Global Economics of Sport, Managing Leisure, 19:4, 305-306,

DOI: 10.1080/13606719.2014.885722

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Book Review

The Global Economics of Sport

C. Gratton, D. Liu, G. Ramchandani and

D. Wilson

Routledge, Abingdon 2012. 128 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-415-58618-4, £24.99, First edition

The increasing globalisation in many areas of social and economic life calls for a book that specifically looks at the globalisation of sport. The authors have more than met this call: The book provides a good overview over major economic topics in relation to globalisation while being written very concisely. With slightly more than 100 pages, the present book attracts readers who are seeking value for money. While other text books are used to look up things, this book is one of those that you can enjoy reading from the beginning to the end. The writing style is easy to understand, also for nonnative speakers and non-economists. Core economic concepts are introduced in between in a language that can be accessed by everybody. The book is rich in figures and case studies that are not only of interest to sports economists, but also to people with a sport marketing focus. As such, the book should be of interest to a variety of target groups including students at all levels, researchers, practitioners, and politicians.

I enjoyed reading the first chapter talking about the historical and economic development of the sport market (although it is restricted to England). It provides a good start and informs the reader about how the “twin constraints of time and money” (p. 5) – one of the core concepts of leisure economics – have developed over time and influenced people’s leisure time activities.

The second chapter sets out to explain the development of the remaining three ingredients of a global sport market (i.e. broadcasting, sponsorship, and transnational corporations in sport) that add on the (inter)national sport governing bodies and international sport events that have been established longer. What I like about the book becomes already clear in the second chapter: It uses a variety of real-world examples including concrete dates and figures (e.g. the year of the first television sports broadcast in Britain and the USA – examples scholars can also use in their lectures) to enrich the theoretical context.

While other economics books throw formula after formula at the readership, the authors of this book manage to explain everything in words – and this makes the book appealing for many target groups.

Another argument in favour of this book is that it is one of the few sports economics books that does not solely focus on (North

American) professional sport. While the commercialisation of professional sport is certainly important when looking at the global economics of sport, the book indicates that the mass participation sector (Chapter 2) and several global sports organisations with a non-profit status like international governing bodies, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the World Anti-Doping

Agency (Chapter 3) should not be neglected.

I appreciate the fact that Weisbrod’s theory explaining the existence of the voluntary non-profit sector by market and government failure has made it into a sports economics book. Notwithstanding, global sports

Managing Leisure, 2014

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U niv ers ity ] a t 0 0:1 6 2 3 D ec em be r 2 01 4 organisations also transform as a result of commercial influences – examples in the form of rules changes or rescheduling are stated in the book. The case study of the

IOC as an organisation caught between social values and commercial interests represents a good illustration of the recent evolution of global sport organisations.

Chapter 4 on global sport events contains a valuable discussion about one of the most controversial topics in sports economics research: the study of economic impact. As such, several shortcomings of previous research are explained and the reader gets sensibilised to the inherent problems associated with economic impact studies. The book also contains surprising information such as the positive long-term legacies of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics – my assumption would be that not many people would have picked Barcelona as the host city that has generated the largest long-term benefits from staging the Olympics up to now. The case study of the Beijing Olympics looking at different legacies provides valuable insights backed up with many figures and is valuable for teaching purposes, and so are the three case studies on global sport corporations (i.e. NIKE, Real Madrid, and