| By Elizabeth Ferguson |
Have you filled out your bracket?
Beginning on March 19, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) will host its annual March Madness men’s Division I basketball tournament. Over the course of about 3 weeks, 68 qualifying college teams in the United States will compete for the coveted national championship in this single-elimination playoff tournament. The most famous, or perhaps infamous, part of March Madness is the use of brackets to chart the winners of each matchup. The challenge of this particular exercise has resulted in millions of Americans filling out blank brackets in the days leading up to the first round of games in order to predict who they think the new national champion will be.
Whether completed just for fun or in an attempt to win some money in a betting pool, filling out a bracket is the first step many fans take in preparing for the weeks of “madness” ahead. More avid fans might even begin by researching player statistics, injury reports, team season records, and other such relevant information beforehand so they can make as well-educated of a guess as possible for each game. But no tournament is devoid of upsets, which adds to the appeal of such events and draws viewers in so as not to miss any of the action.
NCAA March Madness is undoubtedly a sporting mega-event, particularly in the United States, and is one of several mega events discussed in The Business and Culture of Sports, a 4-volume reference product that explores the economic and cultural impact of sports in the twenty-first century. For instance, in his chapter on sports philosophy, scholar R. Scott Kretchmar discusses the relationship between the NCAA and basketball, citing the organization’s dependence on successful basketball programs to garner income and profits, especially during March Madness, which generates millions of dollars for the NCAA. In their chapter on law and sports, Professor Glenn Wong and his research assistant Cameron Miller use the trademarked example of March Madness in a discussion of intellectual property law, noting that the NCAA has sued multiple third parties for infringement on the name (such as, “Markdown Madness”).
Other mega events examined in The Business and Culture of Sports include the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Super Bowl, and the FIFA World Cup. Catherine Palmer addresses the power of beer as a cultural product with implications for the staging of the World Cup in her chapter on beer and promotional culture. In his discussion of sports and post-9/11 America, Michael L. Butterworth outlines how the military is now involved in many US sporting events, including the Super Bowl. And Aaron Beacom and Ian Brittain trace the Paralympic movement from its post–World War II roots to current public and Paralympic diplomacy, as the movement continues to gain influence in the sphere of international relations.
These examples offer only a glimpse of the wealth of information covered in The Business and Culture of Sports, which features the work of more than 100 contributing authors all carefully chosen by the academic editorial board, three leading scholars in the field of sports studies who desired to maintain a global perspective for this work. This comprehensive set aims to showcase how sports influences various cultures and people groups around the world, including postcolonial societies, female athletes, LGBTQ communities and athletes, and older citizens looking to stay physically active and engaged in a youth-focused sports world. The business side of the sports arena is covered in such chapters as “The Business of MLB Player Development in the Caribbean” by Thomas F. Carter, “Managing Elite Sports Systems and the Development of Athletes” by Veerle De Bosscher, “Economic Rationalities and Sports Analytics: Beyond Moneyball?” by Bill Gerrard, and “Labor Relations and the Sports Business” by Christopher M. McLeod and Matthew G. Hawzen. Each of the 96 chapters in The Business and Culture of Sports is peer-reviewed and written by prominent scholars in the field with expert knowledge on the topic at hand, making for a reliable and coherent reference set.
With sports studies becoming increasingly popular, The Business and Culture of Sports is a must-have for any college or university library. Students will be able to use its contents in class, for research purposes, or even for general insights as they pursue their education. High school students and other interested readers can also benefit from the expansive content in this set. The Business and Culture of Sports will be available in print and eBook format on GVRL on May 3, preorder your copy today!