Summary of National Pastime

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National Pastime book summary


8 Overall

5 Applicability

9 Innovation

7 Style


Soccer and baseball enjoy fervent followings and generate wads of cash, so this study of the two games’ economics and culture is as welcome as a towering home run (or a nifty goal). Economists Stefan Szymanski and Andrew Zimbalist compare and contrast the two sports’ business models in a way that will fascinate anyone who is interested in athletics or international business. The authors offer a fascinating history of these sports, complete with plenty of telling anecdotes that are sure to enlighten even devoted fans. The only gripe is that the writers sometimes bog down in scholarly phrasing when the reader might prefer more active prose. Still, recommends this intriguing study to anyone who specializes in sports business - or even just buys a ticket to a game now and then.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How baseball and soccer evolved on parallel paths;
  • The history of team economics and player salaries in both sports; and
  • How the finances of the two sports differ and what those differences reveal about their cultural settings.

About the Authors

Stefan Szymanski teaches economics at Imperial College London. His previous books include Winners and Losers: The Business Strategy of Football. Andrew Zimbalist teaches economics at Smith College. His previous books include Baseball and Billions and May the Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy. Both frequently serve as consultants to the sports industry.



From Child’s Play to Big Bucks
Over the past two centuries, soccer and baseball have developed along parallel lines. Both sports started as mere amusements, yet both have evolved into huge businesses with global reach, massive television contracts and powerful brand names, such as the ...

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