Wins, Losses, and Empty Seats: How Baseball Outlasted the Great Depression

By David George Surdam | Go to book overview

8. Manipulating the Schedule
to Increase Revenue

Fans often take scheduling for granted. At the beginning of the season, they may glance at a schedule to see when the most desirable opponents will come to town. College football and basketball fans pay attention to strength-of-schedule rankings, since not all team schedules are created equal.

Economists have applied the Coase Theorem to the movement and distribution of playing talent in professional team sports. The theorem states that resources will be efficiently deployed as long as property rights are well defined and there are low transaction costs. Transaction costs are the costs of finding someone to deal with, the cost of negotiation, and the cost of monitoring and enforcing an agreement. Economists have not applied the theorem to other aspects of team sports. For instance, how does the theorem apply to allocating another valuable property right: holiday home dates in major league baseball?

For much of major league baseball’s history, holiday doubleheaders have been among the best-drawing playing dates. During the 1930s and the period immediately following World War II, the Major Leagues usually allocated the three holidays—Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day—on an equal basis. Teams would alternate having home games on Memorial Day and Labor Day one year and then the Fourth of July the next. Due to the differences in on-the-field abilities of the teams, as well as the large disparities in stadium capacities and popu-

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Wins, Losses, and Empty Seats: How Baseball Outlasted the Great Depression
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • Prologue Clash of Titans 1
  • 1- The Financial Side of the Game 5
  • 1- The American Economy and the State of Baseball Profits 7
  • 2- Why Did Profits Collapse? the Revenue Side 27
  • 3- Why Did Profits Collapse? Player Salaries and Other Expenses 59
  • 4- Farm Systems 95
  • Conclusion of Economic Side 109
  • 2- The Game on the Field 111
  • 5- Competitive Balance 113
  • 6- Player Movement 131
  • 3- Using League Rules to Aid in the Recovery 157
  • 7- Helping the Indigent 159
  • 8- Manipulating the Schedule to Increase Revenue 169
  • 4- Innovations to Boost Attendance and Profits 195
  • 9- Radio and Baseball 197
  • 10- Baseball under the Lights 219
  • 11- Other Innovations 247
  • 12- How Effective Were the Innovations? 279
  • 13- The Inept and the Restless Franchise Relocation 285
  • Epilogue the End of An Era 301
  • Appendix 1- Radio and Sunday Ball's Effect on Attendance 307
  • Appendix 2- Dramatis Personae 309
  • Appendix of Tables 315
  • Notes 353
  • Bibliography 399
  • Index 405
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