I was saddened to hear, not long after we had taken our summer break on this blog, of the passing of Professor Emeritus Stefan Kesenne, formerly of the University of Antwerp and associate with KU Leuven research group on Policy in Sports & Physical Activity Research Group.
Prof Kesenne was widely known in sports economics circles and even more widely respected. He published vast quantities of work in sports economics, for more than two decades, and will be best remembered for his contributions to sports league design, competitive balance and revenue sharing. Some of his most influential work has been published in the Scottish Journal of Political Economy, European Sport Management Quarterly and Journal of Sports Economics.
His 2000 contribution to the Journal of Sports Economics “Revenue sharing and competitive balance in professional team sports”, appears in the very first issue of the journal along side academics such as Simon Rottenberg, Robert Barro and Rodney Fort. A link to the paper, currently cited 360 times, can be found here.
This week European Sport Management Quarterly published a fitting obituary called "The economist who stripped professional sport of its monopoly: homage to Professor Stefan Kesenne (1950–2021)". It is well worth reading.
Aside from Stefan’s many academic achievements, he was also extremely well-liked within the community of sports economists. I was lucky enough to meet him on a number of occasions at the ESEA. I recall a great conversation in Antwerp in 2014, during the ESEA conference Stefan co-organised, where we discussed a wide range of sports economics issues. He was an excellent scholar and a gentleman in every sense of the word. The community of sports economists is now a lesser place. May he rest in peace.