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Mark S. Rosentraub, Major League Losers (New York: Basic Books, 1997), 498 pp., $27.50 (cloth).
U.S. and Canadian cities continue to pursue with open purses major league sports teams despite increasingly convincing evidence from academic observers that professional sports teams do little for the local economy except increase public debt and make team owners wealthier. Local officials continue their pursuit despite the fact that winning a team appears to guarantee only that one day it will threaten to leave unless a stadium or arena is built at even greater public expense than its present facility cost.
Home Team is Danielson's analysis of the bittersweet relationship between sports teams and the communities that host them. In his impressively thorough and comprehensive analysis, he draws upon the sports history, sports economics, and sports policy literatures. Danielson skillfully integrates these literatures with his own insights and original data. He often takes issue with what has been written: for example, he notes that franchise relocation has not resulted in reduced fan support for mobile teams or reduced aggregate attendance, he explains that the pursuit of increased television revenue is not the motivation for relocations, and he insists that intangible benefits attributed to the presence of a sports team cannot be dismissed.