Call for Papers: Special Issue on The Politics of Sports

Special Issue Guest Editors

Brad R. Humphreys, Lead Guest Editor, West Virginia University (

Yang Zhou, University of North Texas (


Politics and sport interact in many ways.  Federal, state, and local governments frequently subsidize the construction of professional sports facilities in North America, and political factors influence this process. These subsidies often involve referenda.  Professional sports leagues in North America receive special anti-trust status, reflecting the outcome of a political process.  In the US, institutions of higher education operate high profile and high cost intercollegiate athletic programs and most receive subsidies from the university and in some cases from public sources.  State legislatures across the US have taken up the issue of the legalization of sports betting in the last few years.

College and professional athletes and coaches often become politicians.  Former college or professional athletes turned politician include Corey Booker (Stanford University football), Bill Bradley (Princeton, New York Knicks basketball) and Jack Kemp (Buffalo Bills football).   Some research links outcomes of sporting events to vote outcomes and voters’ assessments of politicians.  Given this strong connection, the politics of sports represents an interesting and fruitful research topic.

Aims and Scope

This special issue will bring together a set of papers on the politics of sports in order to highlight the importance of research on this topic and further understanding of the sports/politics interface.  Papers can address any aspect of the relationship between politics and sports in an economic context.  Topics could include

  • How city or state politics affects sports subsidies
  • How local team success or new facility opening affects local elections
  • How state government politics affects the subsidization of intercollegiate athletic programs 
  • How internal governance of sports teams affects team success

Submission Information

Authors will submit their papers at and indicate the special issue “Politics and Sport” during the submission process and in the cover letter. 

Submission deadline: 15 June 2021.