The discussion starts with the panelists agreeing that the book is an interesting read as it tackles how Minor League baseball is an industry that is so highly prized after investment of millions of dollars of taxpayers money and subsidies. An impact mostly felt in small towns and Cities that build stadia for Minor League teams.
The book differentiates clearly between major and Minor League baseball teams in their cities and various localities. It carries out a careful look at Minor League teams and judges them against the advantages of Major League teams and the disadvantages caused by Minor League baseball teams.
It is deductible from the book, that Minor League baseball teams have a low impact on the growth of cities compared to most businesses and corporations. This is because most of them hire few people and this does not have as much impact as it is expected of them. The direct economic effects of such teams are low while the secondary economic impact is intangible. Therefore, the exact economic progress is difficult to measure due to the various variables in play (Johnson, 1993). The business may break even and earn some money but the return on investment is not commensurate to the expected return. Economic benefits of intangible dividends are hard to quantify but doesnt justify public finance subsidies. Some none baseball fans have criticized public spending on baseball instead of critical services like education (Johnson, 1993).
Minor League teams are small businesses and thus have image issues hence they try to carve out a niche for themselves in both regional and local scenes. They also seek to capitalize on that image and achieve economic development and marketing strategies to promote their cities. Major League teams bring a lot of panache and recognition to a city as they have built a good brand name for their home cities. Most teams in the Minor League attract low numbers of fans from outside the community. It is important to note that attendance does not directly correspond to winning.
The Fort Wayne study by Mark Rosentraub and Dave Swindell was conducted in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The research involved going to a local movie theater and observing license plates to see how many people were not from the area. They also went around and called on other Minor League teams to learn their base values with most teams registering between 20%-60 % attraction of non locals(Rosentraub and Swindell, 1991).The study commends the legitimate multiplier econometric effects with an estimation that for every dollar invested the receipts were between $1.50 and $3.00.The key questions to such studies include the time the study was conducted , how many times the study was repeated and some Minor League teams chosen did not know how their baseline was obtained. Its a large variable econometric model and variables with little sources of fixed input could lead to either gross inaccuracy of results or could be dead on point but no one is for certain(Rosentraub and Swindell, 1991).
The study affirmed that the teams would make money but it wasnt enough. A team would set an expected recovery ceiling that would ensure they make sufficient returns. In the case of Fort Wayne study that the construction of the new stadium would yield 4.1 million dollars in profit (Rosentraub and Swindell, 1991). The conclusions on this study was that the town is already a central town and thus the new stadium would not add a lot of visitor numbers to the town. Resulting development of the teams could draw in more businesses and increase real estate values in the town. As a result, traffic congestion on major infrastructure would occur and in some instances property values depreciate because of disturbance and immobility during major games.
Political environment is one which the teams need to consider, the best business models favour a system whereby the jurisdictions work together towards promoting the sport of major League baseball. The best example is in Indianapolis which established itself as a major sports hub due to the union between the city and the county with the mayor having a veto power on all decisions reached. A model with a single authority at the top is effective in decision making as compared to one whereby multiple entities and persons are required to make the decision. Indianapolis has therefore established itself as a model of successful sport development not due to economic development brought about by the teams but rather due to the successful execution of the strategy.
In conclusion, the book is a very informative source on both major and Minor League baseball in the United States and the effects of such teams on the local economy. Nonetheless, the book doesnt cover enough in-depth information about Minor League baseball and newer information should be sought to address emerging challenges and opportunities.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Johnson, Arthur T. Minor League Baseball And Local Economic Development. University Of Illinois Press, 1993.
Mark S Rosentraub, David Swindell. "Who benefits from the presence of professional sports teams?The implications for public funding of stadiums and arena." American Society For Public Administration (Amer), 1998: 11-20.
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