Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
First-Year Seminar


FYS Section A12. Big Money Professional Sports Leagues! Big Money Collegiate Sports?

The Economics and Business of Sport Leagues and Conferences

This course uses economic ideas and tools to study the operation of professional and amateur sports leagues in the U.S. and abroad as well as examine the impact of government policies on the operation of these sport leagues. While the course will focus on a few major sports (e.g., American football, basketball, baseball, and football (soccer)), the economic ideas and tools introduced in the course are applicable to the study of other sports leagues, and students are encouraged to analyze and study other professional sporting leagues such as golf, cycling, tennis, hockey, and auto-racing. A significant portion of the course will be devoted to comparing and contrasting the business models of the U.S. sports leagues to the European sports leagues. Among the topics to be covered in the course are the purpose and structure of sporting leagues and their implications on revenues, costs, and profitability; the impact of competition or “competitive balance” on team owners and fans; the financing of sports facilities; negotiations over players’ salary and contracts, player movement (free agency or “Bosman ruling”), and player development; the history and implications of discrimination in sporting leagues; NCAA cartel (monopoly) behavior and its finances; and the impact of NCAA policies on student-athletes and academic institutions.

James FreemanJames Freeman
Associate Professor of Economics