Rob Macdonald here. Skip has invited me to contribute some posts with an Australian flavour. I look forward to bringing some stories to light with a slightly different skew to that you often find in the North American and European literature and commentary.
We have a small but growing community of academics with expertise in sports economics, sports law and sports management in Australia. Readers from elsewhere in Australia may disagree, but Melbourne (where I'm based) is clearly the sporting capital of the nation and the city itself has, I think, the strongest concentration of researchers in the fields of sports economics, sports law and sports management of any city in Australia. I'm a part of the Sports Law program at the University of Melbourne, my research areas and interests relate to the economics and law of sport, especially league structures, labour market regulations and the mysterious phenomenon of competitive balance; and I've created subjects dealing with labour relations and governance issues in the sporting context for various sporting programs.
As a teaser, how's this for a couple of interesting economic problems from the past week or two:
- You may all enjoy the latest book to be released in Australia (August 2007):
The Games Are Not The Same: The Political Economy of Football In Australia
- The Australian Football League (AFL) has just smashed the annual attendance record, yet this weekend had the peculiar situation where - thanks to the player draft regulations that award 'priority picks' to particularly weak clubs - two clubs playing in the final round of the home & away season today both had a strong incentive to lose (article from The Age, Melbourne);
- Equine Influenza has caused the indefinite closure of the Ranwick racecourse in Sydney (here's something from the Sydney Morning Herald), has disrupted horseracing nationwide and may even impact the running of the best 2 mile handicap in the world, the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November, if it isn't kept under control;
- The South Sydney Rabbitohs today qualified for the National Rugby League (NRL) finals for the first time in nearly two decades. This comes after they were omitted from the NRL competition at the start of the decade, were readmitted two yeasr later after considerable public opposition and then sold (they were previously a member-owned club) to wealthy businessman Peter Holmes a'Court and moviestar Russell Crowe (this one was just a good news story).