Baseball's black eye : an analysis of the economics of baseball since the player's strike of 1994 and recommendations to save the "national pastime" : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)

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Hartings, Jason Ernest
Kuphall, Calvin J.
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Thesis (B.S.)
Honors College
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Baseball has been around for over a hundred years and has suffered through many difficult times. Since 1994, baseball has spiraled downward into deep economic instability. The structure of baseball's current economic system is causing a lack of competitive balance as well as a deterioration of fan base. Baseball has fallen off of its pedestal as the "national pastime" into recognition as a boring sport driven by money. In this thesis, I have attempted to uncover the reasons for the demise of baseball since 1994 as well as some recommendations to saving the game of baseball. I have divided this thesis into three parts: a brief history of Major League Baseball before 1994, the current state of baseball economics since 1994, and recommendations on how to save the game of baseball.In the first section, I take a look at many developments since the beginning of baseball that have helped to contribute to baseball's current economic status. In this history, I have outlined many events such as the birth of television and radio revenues, free agency, and the creation of two leagues to help show the growth of baseball over time. These events follow a chronological pattern and end at the labor dispute of 1994 resulting in the cancellation of the World Series.In the second section, I analyze the factors since 1994 that have brought baseball to its state of instability. With the Commissioner's Blue Ribbon Report on the Economics of Baseball as my guide, I explore such factors as revenue sharing, local revenues, contraction, free agency, player's salaries, and team payrolls as contributing factors to baseball's decline. Through this section, the information needed to make proper recommendations on saving baseball are conjectured.In the third and final section, I provide the ideas and recommendations that could possibly save the game of baseball. Some recommendations include revenue sharing changes, a salary cap, franchise relocation, and amateur player draft reforms. With the implementation of these ideas, baseball has the opportunity to launch itself back to the forefront of professional sports.