During the course of our summer break the sad news broke that two internationally respected and renowned sports economists passed away.
On the 4th of June, James (Jim) Quirk left this world. Jim was a retired Caltech Economics Professor (1971-1987) and a leading voice in sports economics. In 1971 he published “An Economic Model of a Professional Sports League” with Mohamed El Hodiri in the Journal of Political Economy.
Professor Quirk would later go on to publish highly influential papers including Cross Subsidization, Incentives, and Outcomes in Professional Team Sports Leagues in the Journal of Economic Literature (1995) and Owner Objectives and Competitive Balance in the Journal of Sports Economics, both with Professor Rod Fort (University of Michigan), as well as “Stadiums, Arenas, and Major League Sports: The Twin Cities’ Experience”, in Sports, Jobs and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Sports Stadiums (Roger Noll and Andrew Zimbalist, editors). A fitting obituary to Jim Quirk can be found here.
Just one month later, on the 5th of July, Vanderbilt University Professor Emeritus John Vrooman also left us. John was another international voice in sports economics and had been writing in the area for more than a quarter of a century. In 1995 Prof. Vrooman published A General Theory of Professional Sports Leagues in the Southern Economics Journal. This paper is cited almost 450 times to date.
John would follow this up with other notable contributions to the literature including Theory of the Beautiful Game: The Unification of European Football in the Scottish Journal of Political Economy (2007) and Theory of the Perfect Game: Competitive Balance in Monopoly Sports Leagues (2009) in Review of Industrial Organization. Until last month he kept
the "Sports Econ Blog" active. His last post is dated June 11th 2020. An obituary to John Vrooman can be found here.
May they both rest in peace.