Teaching Sports Economics

I have designed this page to help future instructors utilize sports examples in their classroom or for future sports economics instructors to design syllabi. If you have any suggestions or find any mistakes, please feel free to e-mail me. The following sections are organized in the way I teach my sports economics course at WSU. I would like to thank my previous sports economics courses for finding a lot of the material listed below.

Supply and demand rule all areas of industry, and are especially important in sports.  Click below to see examples of supply and demand factors in the sports industry.  

Firms use creative tactics, particularly price discrimination to increase their revenue. If firms opt for advertising, they must choose a level of advertising that maximizies expected profit.

Expansion & Relocation

Leagues operate as monopolies of their professional sport, and as such, have a interest managing the number of teams participating in the league. 

Traditional demand theory applies to college sports in a similar method as professional sports, but the set-up of college sports allows for a unique discussion on industry design.


When players are paid differently, but it can't be explained by marginal revenue product theory; discrimination may be at hand. Discrimination from fans can last persist in the long run.

Labor Relations

Players and teams participate in collective bargaining as separate unions to negotiatep player benefits. 



Cheating in Sports

Cheatin in sports spans across professional levels and is the highlight of most college sporting news. Scandals involving drugs and illegal payments stem from misbalance in MRP.

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Market structures can be dramatically different. Inside metro areas, teams may face no competition or competition from many others. Competition then spills over into TV markets as well.

League Structure

There are a set of actions that cannot be performed by individual owners, which make leagues necessary for the industry. Otherwise, owners opt to join leagues for profit motivation.

Rival Leagues

The long term expectation is that only one league will remain, but rival leagues appear to fill voids left by leagues. The introduction of these rival leagues often result in increased player salaries 

How Players/Coaches Are Paid

Using marginal revenue product theory, players and coaches can be valued numerically. It is important to understand why players don't earn their MRP.

Government Spending

One of the most controversial topics in sports economics involves government subsidies for stadiums. Most benefits are hard to define, which makes cost-benefit analysis difficult.

Rookie Drafts

 Owners and leagues institute drafts to allow small markets the opportunity to secure talent following an unnsuccessful season.


Books & Miscellaneous

There are numerous popular press books and iTunes courses that cover a broad set of sports economics topics that cannot be placed in one of the above categories.

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Jadrian Wooten, PhD