Professor Miceli speaks to UConn Alumni about the Economics of Sports

Professor Tom Miceli presented a lecture on “The Economics of Professional Sports” to the UConn Alumni Association of Greater Hartford on Tuesday, February 7, at Rentschler Field.  The motivation for the talk was the recent movie Moneyball, which described how the Oakland Athletics used computer technology to assemble a winning team using players who had been overlooked by other teams.  Professor Miceli described how the labor market for professional baseball players works, and how the Athletics were able to identify and sign players who had been undervalued by the market.  He also pointed out that this innovation only provided the Athletics a temporary advantage because other teams quickly copied their strategy by hiring their own computer analysts.  In fact, Professor Miceli argued that the quick diffusion of new ideas—like the use of computers or the signing of international players—is desirable from the league’s perspective because it prevents teams from gaining a long-term advantage, which would undermine the goal of maintaining competitive balance.