Tag Archives: Dave Zirin

profit-masters of sport: dave zirin’s bad sports

Worried about the impending NFL lock-out that lies unresolved amidst the uber media-hype leading up to Super Bowl Sunday? Tired of millionaire athletes wanting more money, and billionaire owners refusing to budge an inch?

Here’s my review of Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love, Dave Zirin’s thorough breakdown of everything you’ve ever wanted to know about professional sports ownership, but are (rightfully) afraid to ask.

My review in the current issue of the International Socialist Review, though not on their website.


Cage-dancing cheerleaders. Beer you can buy in the bathroom. Stadium security guards who prevent fans from leaving their seats during the Seventh Inning Stretch. American flags branded by Lockheed Martin that are handed out at the ballpark in celebration of July 4th. A 73-year-old grandmother and lifetime season-ticket holder who is sued by the team she adores. Welcome to the world of sports, early 21st-century style. We’ve come a long way since the naive, simple-minded days of Dr. James Naismith and Abner Doubleday.  Continue reading

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Class, Consumerism, Lifestyle Economics

spicing up your sports sunday: dave zirin’s documentary “not just a game”

Looking to spice up your Sunday sports viewing this weekend? Why not come down to the Amherst Cinema, and join me in checking out the newest Dave Zirin offering, the Media Education Foundation (MEF) documentary film Not Just A Game: Power, Politics & American Sports. Can’t make it to western Massachusetts? Then enjoy the film’s trailer, below, and let your local theater know that you want them to screen this movie.

Edge of Sports columnist Dave Zirin himself will be at the Amherst screening, answering questions after the film. The discussion will be moderated by MEF founder and UMass professor Sut Jhally. There will be popcorn. What more could you ask for?



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Filed under Social Change

the business of baseball, the illusion of sport stewardship

“Players play. Fans watch. Owners are uniquely charged with being stewards of the game. It’s a task that they have failed to perform in spectacular fashion.” – Dave Zirin

This week, Deadspin.com has been publishing leaked financial documents from several Major League Baseball teams, including the Florida Marlins, Tampa Bay (Don’t Call Them Devil) Rays, Seattle Mariners, (Los Angeles) Angels of Anaheim, Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers. The documents confirm sports fans’ worst suspicions: that owners are in it for the money, first, the prestige, second, and care about winning third, or maybe even not at all.

The documents paint “a picture that shows clubs at the low and middle level of player payroll spending are, for the most part, pulling a profit,” notes Business of Sports columnist Maury Brown. Despite the fact that many of these so-called “small market” teams are chronically uncompetitive, and complain compulsively about their inability to match the team salaries of the “big-market” clubs.

Seems the owners of the “small-market” teams are doing just fine, thank you. And it appears that losing pays far better than one may have thought it did. Who knew that owning an absolutely awful team like the Pittsburgh Pirates or Kansas City Royals could be so profitable?  Continue reading

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Consumerism

sports in its proper perspective

Last week, Spain defeated Holland to earn their first-ever World Cup Championship. It was a proud moment for a nation that has been futbol-crazy for over a century. And an intriguing chapter to a sporting history that has been divisive, and oftentimes violent.

For decades Spanish football has been dominated by two of Europe’s most famed clubs: Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Their heated rivalry traces its roots back to the Spanish Civil War. Real Madrid was the favored team of Spanish dictator Ferdinand Franco, while Barcelona was championed by Catalonia’s left-wing intellectuals.

FC Barcelona has long provided the sports world with an example of a franchise that somehow manages to balance its core values with success on the field, and in doing so, keeps sports in its proper perspective. The club is run as a worker’s collective, with fans voting for team presidents. Barcelona prides itself as a “defender of freedom and democratic rights,” as former team president Joan Laporta puts it, “facing up to others in a time of governments without tolerance.” And they are currently in the middle of a five-year sponsorship deal with UNICEF, where Barcelona pays for the right to wear the UNICEF logo on their jerseys. A privilege that costs them $2 million a year.  Continue reading

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Filed under Accountable Wealth, Philanthropy