Year of Award
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
College of Business & Professional Studies
MLB, Commisioner, owners, agency, Major League, sports, players, anti-trust, World Series
From a business perspective, baseball today appears to be at a crossroads and possibly on the verge of a catastrophe. Conversations about baseball are now as likely to be about the economic survival of the sport as they are about the best players. Just how did the business of baseball evolve to this point, and how much trouble is the industry really in? These are questions that I will attempt to answer in this thesis.
We'll look back at how baseball became an organized business and who the key people were that recognized baseball's potential to make money. We will also examine the many problems that baseball encountered in its early years and we'll look at how those problems were solved.
An important issue throughout baseball's history has been the player reservation system and its effect on players salaries. This analysis will cover how the reservation system evolved, how it has been weakened in recent years and the implications that the changes in the system have brought about. In order to understand how baseball operates, it is necessary to examine the important rules and guidelines that the clubs abide by. The manner in which the teams share revenue, select talent, control players, change the rules etc., is examined in great detail in this work. Baseball has also been shaped by several important antitrust decisions in the United States Supreme Court. These cases will be discussed in appropriate detail from time to time in the thesis.
The Major League Players Association is having a big impact on the industry today. We'll look at early attempts to form a union and follow the efforts right up to the present. Strategies, goals, successes and failures will all be discussed.
Finally, where baseball is and where it is headed will be examined in detail. The true financial status of baseball, the effects of free agency on the competitive balance of the game, and the prospects for survival will all be subjects of the final chapter.
Reading this thesis will probably change the way you view the business of baseball. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
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Fitzjarrell, Michael J., "An Examination of the Business of Baseball: Its Origin, Evolution, and Present State of Health" (1992). Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects. 331.
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