Book Review: Financing Sport, 4th Edition

Howard and Crompton have hit this one out of the park! I have been using the prior editions of Financing Sport for almost two decades, but the 4th edition is by far the best, most comprehensive, and clear text yet. I have always evaluated other “Sport Finance” textbooks as they have come out, but the quality and the in-depth content that Howard and Crompton always provide reaffirms that their text is the best, by far, of any others out there in the market. Their book covers the content that sport management students find most valuable as they prepare themselves for employment in the sport industry and gain understanding of the financial challenges that sport organizations face, whether professional and/or for-profit, or amateur and/or non-profit. The 4th edition, includes the reintroduction of content that had been removed in the prior edition (e.g., sponsorship, fundraising), and has been entirely updated and refreshed, with lots of new examples and ‘best practices.’

All of the chapters have new information and examples. Specifically, Chapter 1 now includes information about international sport from Indian Cricket Leagues to the English Premier League to football (soccer) in China, which is a welcome addition. Chapter 3 has much more information about the MLS in the U.S. than did previous additions, while still discussing collective bargaining agreements across the major U.S. leagues that most similar books do not cover. Chapter 4 has updated the trends on facility financing, noting that owners are now paying more than ever before and why. Although not extensively updated, the assessment of economic impact analyses in Chapters 5 and 6 is probably the most critical information in the book in my opinion. This content is something that students (and pretty much everyone else) are totally ignorant about, and the machinations that occur typically astound and upset most who finally understand what is happening. The extensive revision of Chapter 7 is much clearer and on-point than in the previous editions. The refocus on the “legacy effects” is a good counterpoint to Chapter 5 and 6 but still illuminates the supposed long-term benefits of public investment in sport facilities. I am glad to see that Chapter 8 still includes the coverage of bond retirement schedules because most students do not understand the concepts inherent in loans, especially the costs associated with repaying with interest over time. I use Howard and Crompton’s examples to discuss the students’ school loans, car loans, and potential home loans. The addition of the P3 (Public-Private Partnership) development framework in Chapter 10 clarifies and distinguishes among the different public-private partnership models that exist, making this chapter much better organized and clearer for the reader. Chapters 10-15 are typically the ones that the students are the most interested in because they either have some experience in revenue generation or may be going into these areas of generating funds for sport organizations. The re-introduction of the Sponsorship chapter and the Donations chapter back into this edition is critical and much appreciated because many of the students that are interested in intercollegiate sport need this information. Although I understand why the chapters are organized in the way they are, I typically teach the content a little differently; pairing Premium Seating and PSL’s from Chapter 10 with Ticket Sales in Chapter 11, and then discussing Naming Rights when talking about Sponsorships in Chapter 14.

In general, the text is much more professional looking, with improved exhibits. Another integrated improvement across the whole text is the inclusion of more examples focusing on what best practices are in the industry. This is a welcome addition that students will appreciate very much. Overall, there are upwards of 20% more exhibits and examples, which makes the text much more applicable and entertaining. In sum, an outstanding text that will change students’ (or any reader's) views on how sport is financed. Kudos to Howard and Crompton!

--Galen Trail, PhD, Professor of Sport Administration & Leadership, Seattle University

Read about the upcoming 4th edition here

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