The Name of the Game: The Business of Sports
NON FICTION BOOK REVIEW
Title: The Name of the Game: The Business of Sports;
by Jerry Gorman and Kirk Calhoun, with Skip Rozin; John Wiley
& Sons; ISBN 0-471-59423-7; Hardcover, 294 pages, $25.95
Reviewer: A. T. Connellan, "I didn't expect a group of nice gray
accountants to produce such an interesting book. I was wrong.
This one is worthy of your interest."
Name of the game is $$$
The Name of the Game is the history of professional sport told in
its favorite idiom, money. "Sports on the field, but business at the
helm" and who better to poke into the financial nooks and crannies
than those who count the beans.
The prestigious accounting firm of Ernst & Young has produced
a wide variety of business oriented "how to" texts, but this is perhaps
the beginning of their venture into the narrative genre. Unfortunately,
with three authors the style is uneven, however had the tale been
left to the best story-teller we might have been denied the fascinating
results of their thorough research. For example, how did the Boston
Bruins get their name?
The salaries, and contracts, of the stars in the major sports are
assessed, and readers will discover that a dollar is not necessarily
a dollar. It all depends on how, when, and who pays it, so don't
believe everything in print.
Income of sport team owners is derived principally from the gate,
concessions, radio and TV broadcasts, stadium or arena advertising,
luxury suites, and expansion fees. The manner in which those
contracts are structured, and the factors that drive the income flow
makes insightful reading.
Fan Equity is a very real figure on the phantom balance sheet.
The degree to which fans can be manipulated to willingly hand
over their dollars for an array of team promotions and logoed junk
is amazing. The downside of improper fan manipulation can be
Gorman, Calhoun, and Rozin give the best analysis I've read of
the dualistic relationship between owners and fans in which the
players are just performers.The fans are voyeurs, paying to
vicariously enjoy that which they could never hope to perform.
Without them, the owners could not present the show, and so the
players/performers are moved in and out of the scene, to entice
and fulfill the fans dreams.
Cold hard numbers are also used to debunk the myth, that there
is a value to cities in a major league franchise. It is a warning to
be heeded by citizens whose politicians eagerly abet the
rainmakers who promise riches from sports events only to
deliver a municipal debt.
The authors expose the influence of television, alcohol and
tobacco interests that control every aspect of the professional
sports, as well as the creation of those "TV Sports."
I didn't expect a group of nice gray accountants to produce
such an interesting book. I was wrong. This one is worthy of
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