Proposal preview

The Economic History of the Sports Sector

The sports sector is one that not only generates the interest of fans. It is an important and large sector in the world economy and generates large revenues, investments, and high levels of government involvement. Most sporting leagues developed along national lines however individual sports quickly developed an international market and broadcast media was increasing access for consumers from the 1920s. Over the past century in particular, the importance of the sector and the international nature of its market has become evident. This session brings together scholars in the field of economic history and sports economics who will present on a range of economic issues. Our previous session at the WEHC in Kyoto yielded a publication through Edward Elgar (Sports Through the Lens of Economic History). We intend to further develop and extend this work in the proposed session.


  • John K Wilson, University of South Australia, Australia
  • Richard Pomfret, University of Adelaide, Australia

Session members

  • Luc Borrowman, Monash University, Australia
  • Lionel Frost, Monash University, Australia
  • Abdel Halabi, Federation University, Australia
  • Kris Inwood, University of Guelph, Canada
  • Akihiko Kawaura, Doshisha University, Japan
  • Sumner La Croix, University of Hawaii, USA
  • J. Andrew Ross, University of Guelph / Library and Archives Canada, Canada
  • John Cranfield, University of Guelph, Canada
  • Wladimir Andreff, Universite Paris 1 Sorbonne, France
  • Joseph P Price, Brigham Young University, USA
  • Hugh Rockoff, Rutgers University, USA
  • Michael Leeds, Temple University, USA
  • Victor A Matheson, College of the Holy Cross, USA
  • Jeffrey Chang Mun Yee, Independent, Australia
  • Pierre-Charles Pradier, Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, France


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This panel has Call for Papers open.
If you are interested in participating, please contact the panel organizer(s) to submit a proposal.

  • John K Wilson, University of South Australia, Australia
  • Richard Pomfret, University of Adelaide, Australia


Panel abstract

The sports sector does not only generate the interest of fans. It is significant sector in the world economy and generates large revenues, investments, and attracts high levels of government involvement. The development of major leagues and codes of certain sports has largely occurred on a global level. Football (soccer) for example, spread from Britain first to Europe then globally. Other sports, such as Australian and American football had no or limited spread from their original countries of play. Over the past century, the importance of global audiences and global competitions (in particular mega-events) has risen to prominence. The economic history of sport was the focus of a special session at the WEHC in Kyoto in 2015 and generated an edited volume published by Edward Elgar in 2016. This session extends upon the emerging theme which began in Kyoto.

1st half

Defining the Sport-industrial Body

J. Andrew Ross (University of Guelph), John Cranfield (University of Guelph), and Kris Inwood (University of Guelph)

The Labor Market Outcomes of Professional Baseball Players- Evidence from Linked Census Records from 1900-1940

Joseph Price (Brigham Young University)

Do Institutions Matter? Japanese and North American Professional Baseball, 1958-2018

Akihiko Kawaura (Doshisha University) and Sumner LaCroix (University of Hawai‘i)

Club Survival in the English Premier League - What Does it Take to Stay in the English Top Flight?

Jeffrey Chang Mun Yee (Independent scholar), Luc Borrowman (Monash University), Lionel Frost (Monash University)

Jim Crow in the Saddle- the Expulsion of African American Jockeys from American Racing

Michael Leeds (Temple University) and Hugh Rockoff (Rutgers University)

2nd half

The winter sports economy in historical perspective - From 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics to 1992 Albertville Winter Games

Wladimir Andreff (Universite Paris 1 Sorbonne)

The Rise and Fall (and Rise and Fall) of Sports Mega-Events as Drivers of Economic Development

Victor Matheson (College of the Holy Cross)

Stadium construction and the distribution of winning percentages in the English and Scottish Football Leagues

Lionel Frost (Monash University), Luc Borrowman (Monash University), Vinod Mishra (Monash University), Abdel K. Halabi (Federation University Australia).

Home Ground Advantage - The determinants of sharing versus sole occupied stadium arrangements

Richard Pomfret (University of Adelaide) and John K. Wilson (University of South Australia)

Betting on sport- history, regulation, measurement

Pierre-Charles Pradier (Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne)