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 The Economics of Sport

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Priscilla
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PostSubject: The Economics of Sport   Mon 05 Oct 2015, 11:20

On Saturday a young neighbour gave me a loud Reith Lecture on  why the day's Rugby match was ' Massive - MASSIVE!' She then went on - not seeing my glazed expression - about how much money would be lost if England lost. Today the D. Mail is wittering on of millions being lost in pub takings etc, advertising and so on. It seems to be an unhealthy aspect of modern sport - or has it always been thus?
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: The Economics of Sport   Mon 05 Oct 2015, 12:42

In Britain and Ireland big sporting occasions traditionally coincided with big fair days. On a purely logistical level this made total sense as it was not every day that communities got to meet up together in such numbers. However this association was never therefore without its economic importance either. In some meetings the prestige of the sporting occasion outstripped that of the associated fair and the latter's success could often hinge on the success of the former as an attraction.

In 1589 a hurling match on Michaelmas between Dublin city dwellers and the surrounding hinterland dwellers started a mini-war when the O'Byrnes of Wicklow used it as a pretext to raid the city and loot the exchequer (fatalities were few, it is said, because the place was practically empty while everyone either played in or watched the match out in the wilds of Ranelagh). The authorities blamed the hurling match and banned it. Three years later the city guilds successfully petitioned the castle to allow it again - the full economic impact of stopping the spectacle in terms of Michaelmas sales had been so devastating. They even paid O'Byrne not to repeat his foray so that the event could go ahead unhindered, effectively a mafia-style protection racket that Byrne operated even in the midst of the war the same English authorities conducted against him.

In checking the facts of the above incident I came across a deliciously worded edict issued in Galway by the English authorities in the 16th century regarding what the local young men should be up to sport-wise. They were, according to law: "At no time to use ne occupy ye hurling of ye litill balle with the hookie sticks or staves, nor use no hand balle to play without the walls, but only the great foot balle." Sky have recently agreed a 30 million euro deal with the Gaelic Athletic Association to broadcast the top games involving "litill balls with the hookie sticks" over the next three years.

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PostSubject: Re: The Economics of Sport   Mon 05 Oct 2015, 15:50

Rangers and Celtic have been nicknamed "The Old Firm" due to the commercial benefits generated by their rivalry. The nickname seems to have sprung up in the early 1900s when matches between them were drawing crowds of 60-70,000 on a regular basis.

The 1909 Scottish Cup Final ended in a riot, not, as is generally supposed, due to sectarian rivalry, but because the crowd thought the result had been fixed, the first match having ended in 2-2 draw, and the replay in 1-1 draw, meaning a third game was now necessary. The previous season, the Glasgow Cup Final had run for three matches and there had been suspicions at that time, that  these games were being manipulated.
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: The Economics of Sport   Sun 01 Nov 2015, 15:06

@Priscilla wrote:
how much money would be lost if England lost. Today the D. Mail is wittering on of millions being lost in pub takings etc, advertising and so on. It seems to be an unhealthy aspect of modern sport - or has it always been thus?

It seems Priscilla that both your neighbour and the Daily Wail were wrong.

According to the Organising Committee for the Rugby World Cup 2015, the tournament was the most lucrative yet. And this view is echoed by World Rugby itself. ('World Rugby' is the new name for the International Rugby Football Board.)* Naff new names and rampant commercialism aside, I would add that the 2015 tournament was also the most successful in terms of the quality of the matches played. I was lucky enough to get tickets for one of the Quarter-Finals and was thrilled to watch the All-Blacks demolish France in Cardiff a fortnite ago even though I had hoped for France to pull off one of their famous upsets.

The Rugby World Cup has certainly changed dramatically since professionalism was accepted by the Northern Hemisphere unions in the mid-1990s. Take the 1991 tournament for example. When Italy played America then there were a mere 7,000 spectators in the quaint surroundings of Cross Green stadium in Otley, Yorkshire. In 2015, however, when Italy played Canada, the fixture was held down the road at Leeds and was attended by over 33,000. In fact more people watched Italy play Canada at Elland Road in 2015 than watched hosts England play Italy at Twickenham in 1991. In other words it's a tournament which has changed beyond recognition.      

What happened to England in the 2015 tournament has also dispelled a couple of myths. Firstly it shows that the success of a tournament is not dependent upon the fortunes of the hosts. And secondly it shows that neither is the success of a tournament dependent upon the fortunes of the 'big' countries. This is a breath of fresh air.

*My old sports master at school in particular will be choking at the gross name 'World Rugby'. He insisted that we never even used the word 'rugby' to describe our sport but instead referred to it as union football.
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