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Title: The economics of professional road cycling
Editors: Van Reeth, Daam
Larson, Daniel
Series Editors: Coates, Dennis C.
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Springer
Series Title: Sports Economics, Management and Policy
Abstract: In the last decade, numerous general multisport handbooks on sports economics have been published (e.g. Andreff & Szymanski, 2006, Fizel, 2006 or Shmanske & Kahane, 2012). In contrast, almost no books have been dedicated to the economics of a specific sport, apart from a couple of books on soccer (e.g. Dobson & Goddard, 2011 or Frick, forthcoming). This handbook that focuses on professional road cycling intends to fill in part of this gap in the academic sports literature.

The handbook specifically deals with professional road cycling as a sport and does not incorporate cycling tourism, or the bicycle manufacturing industries. Each chapter will treat a particular aspect of professional road cycling. The focus is on male professional road cycling, but in some chapters female cycling and other cycling disciplines, like track and cyclocross, will also be given attention. Amateur competitive cycling will only be discussed as it relates to the early development and commercialization of the sport.

The first two chapters serve as an introduction into professional road cycling by describing the history of the sport (chapter 1) and its organisational structure (chapter 2). The next couple of chapters zoom in on the economic importance of professional road cycling. In chapter 3 the economics of professional road cycling is discussed in detail. Sponsoring and marketing, the primary source of funding in cycling, is the focus of chapter 4. Chapters 5 and 6 analyse consumer demand for cycling. The important relationship between professional road cycling and TV is analyzed in chapter 5 while in chapter 6 the economic relevance of live attendance for professional road cycling is examined. Next, a couple of chapters on managerial aspects of professional road cycling are included. Chapter 7 focuses on aspects of cycling's complex labour market. In chapters 8 and 9 important factors that influence the outcome of cycling races are discussed. The strategic and social mechanisms that are very specific to professional road cycling are analysed from a game-theoretic point of view in chapter 8 while chapter 9 shows how the outcome of races is also influenced by changes in regulation. Because cycling is a sport in which an individual receives the glory from team production, the analysis of cycling performances is not straightforward. Chapter 10 nevertheless shows how individual and team performances can be modelled in this atypical situation. The following chapter 11 builds on this by analysing outcome uncertainty and competitive balance in the context of professional road cycling. For a long time, road cycling has been a European sport dominated by a handful of countries. The globalisation cycling has witnessed in the past twenty years is the subject of chapter 12. In chapter 13 two important dysfunctions of cycling are discussed: collusion and doping. The book concludes with a chapter on the future of cycling, bringing together a number of insights from the other chapters to propose a "blueprint" for cycling in 2020.

Although cycling is hugely popular in some European countries, from a worldwide point of view it is still a relatively small and commercially underdeveloped sport compared to, for instance, the big American sports, soccer, tennis or Formula One. As a result, it has received little research interest in the past. From the 51 papers on professional road cycling that were inventoried while preparing this project, only two date from before the year 2000. In recent years this has clearly changed since more than half of the papers (29 out of 51) have been published since 2008.

The primary aims of the handbook are:
1°) to provide a comprehensive survey of the many economic and managerial aspects of professional road cycling;
2°) to present a state of the art of the literature on cycling economics and cycling management.
The list of contributors to the handbook therefore includes many of the researchers that have published in this field in recent years.

One of the book's primary contributions thus is that it brings together for the first time most of the academic research and knowledge on the economics and management of professional road cycling. By discussing the existing research and complementing it with the newest concepts, ideas and data on professional road cycling, this book will not only set an agenda for further academic research but at the same time will provide essential insights for all stakeholders in cycling: governments, cycling's governing bodies, team managers, race organizers, sponsors, media. In spite of the many problems the cycling sport currently faces, such as doping and financial distress, the sport continues to grow with increasing media attention across the world, especially in Anglo-Saxon and Asian markets.

Additionally, the unique characteristics of the sport of cycling explored within this text can inform broader management and industrial organization research, including within other sports arenas, as they extend analyses of team labour, broadcast revenue generation, and sponsorship financing models.
ISBN: 978-3-319-22312-4
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IBe
Appears in Collections:Research Centre for Globalization, Innovation and Competition, Campus Brussels (-)
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) - miscellaneous
Department of ECON-CEDON, Campus Brussels

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