The Name of the Game: The Business of Sports


422 words

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 
street riots. 

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 
your interest.  

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