Dr. David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University. He has spent the last two decades researching sports and economics, while publishing works on a variety of topics including the evaluation of players and coaches, competitive balance, the drafting of players, labor disputes, the NCAA, and gender issues in sports.
Dr. Berri was the lead author of "The Wages of Wins and Stumbling on Wins" and recently published "Sports Economics", a textbook from Macmillan Publishers. In the past, he has written on the subject of sports economics for a number of popular media outlets, including the New York Times, the Atlantic.com, Time.com, and Vice Sports. Currently, Dr. Berri is writing for Forbes.com.
Dr. Berri graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University with a bachelor of arts in economics and earned both his master of arts and Ph.D. in economics from Colorado State University.
Industry Expertise (5)
Areas of Expertise (12)
Outstanding Scholar (professional)
Southern Utah University Board of Trustees, 2013
Scholar of the Year, Department of Economics & Finance (professional)
Southern Utah University, 2009
Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor (professional)
Colorado State University, 1996
Colorado State University: Ph.D., Economics
Colorado State University: M.A., Economics
Nebraska Wesleyan University: B.A., Economics
Media Appearances (18)
California Has a New Equal-Pay Act for Athletes
The law will soon mandate equal pay for men and women in athletic events on California state lands. But legislators may have missed an opportunity to make broader inroads on gender equity in sports.
Berri, from Southern Utah University, says that legislative action alone doesn’t spur change. There also needs to be continued investment in women’s sports before the playing field is leveled.
Competition between sports for fans' money and attention is increasingly fierce
The Economist online
Sports need to adapt to modern viewing habits. They need to break into new markets. Doing so involves more than simply staging matches in new countries—it means finding home-grown stars from these markets.
“The more inclusive you make sports, the wider the market is going to be,” says Dave Berri, a sports economist from Southern Utah University.
Hail to the (Underpaid) Champs: A Long Legacy of Sexism in Sports
The New York Times online
The American women won their fourth World Cup yesterday, and if you haven’t seen Rose Lavelle’s goal yet, I recommend taking a minute to watch it.
Most of the attention today is on the team’s 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the final. But whether or not you’re a sports fan, you’ve also probably heard about the dispute between the players and the United States Soccer Federation over pay. The women’s team earns much less than the American men’s team, and the players have filed a lawsuit over the gap. The lawsuit also accuses the federation, which is known as U.S. Soccer, of providing the women with subpar facilities, coaching resources and medical treatment. At the end of yesterday’s match, the crowd in France was chanting, “Equal pay!”
Multimillion-dollar deals become more common in squeezeplay era of economic superstars
Bryce Harper’s record-setting $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies took lots of people by surprise when reporters started tweeting it out Thursday afternoon.
How NBA salary caps hurt the Toronto Raptors
The Conversation online
David Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University, found that both leagues have competitive imbalances despite governing under different systems.
He used the Noll-Scully ratio as a metric to measure parity. This ratio would be 1.00 in a league that is perfectly balanced. His research showed that the NBA’s Noll-Scully ratio continuously remained at 2.50, while the MLB’s average ratio was 1.90 in the American League and 1.69 in the National League.
WNBA players are still treated like second-class citizens. It’s on the NBA to fix that.
The Washington Post online
This is what second-class citizenship in pro sports looks like.
Is Overspending Catching Up to These Power 5 Schools?
USA Today online
The general strategy is that “more spending leads to more wins,” said David Berri, a sports economist and professor at Southern Utah. “No, it’s probably the other way around: If you win more, you’ll have more revenue and can spend more money. That’s why we end up with this.”
With NBA Picks, Data Can Only Take You So Far
The NBA draft takes place tomorrow in Brooklyn, when teams make big bets on young players, hoping they might been the next LeBron James or Steph Curry, that once-in-a-generation player who can transform a team's fortunes. But these players are notoriously risky investments.
Why N.H.L. Teams May Not Enjoy the Comforts of Home Ice
The New York Times print
One way analysts have studied randomness in hockey is by watching the performance of goalies.
“In a regular season, your worst goalie is going to block about 86 percent of shots and your best goalie is going to block about 93 percent, and that’s the whole spread,” David Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University, said. “It’s basically every goalie blocks nine out of 10 shots.”
Before this Hoops Recruit Chose Indiana, Adidas Made Sure He Stayed Under its Tent
The Washington Post online
“Even if you’re conservative in your math,” said David Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University, “a player like this is worth well over a million.”
Who Will Cleveland Browns Pick in First Round of 2018 NFL Draft?
Bloomberg TV tv
Southern Utah University Professor of Economics David Berri discusses the potential first round selections for the NFL's 2018 draft. He speaks with Bloomberg's Vonnie Quinn on "Bloomberg Markets."
Commission on College Basketball Calls for Reforms on One-and-Dones, Undrafted Players
LA Times online
With college basketball reeling from scandal, an independent NCAA task force has called for widespread reform of a game that has become a multibillion-dollar business fraught with bribery and fraud.
Should Female Athletes Sue the Networks for Equal Coverage?
The Guardian online
Women are conditioned to accept what’s given to them and women athletes are no exception. It’s time for a change.
NCAA Tournament Rakes in Millions on Efforts of Unpaid Athletes, But What's the Solution?
LA Times online
When sports economists compare these numbers to the value of scholarships that athletes receive, they see a trigger for the corruption scandal enveloping the game.
"If we think about the word 'exploitation,' it has a specific definition," Southern Utah professor David Berri said. "'Exploitation' means you're being paid a wage less than your economic value … any restriction below market prices is going to lead to cheating."
How LeBron James Says He'd Fix the "Corrupt" NCAA
Washington Post online
The NCAA is “corrupt,” LeBron James said Tuesday, echoing a sentiment that’s seemingly growing louder as more coaches are implicated in an FBI pay-for-play scandal.
Is the FBI Cleaning Up College Basketball, or Wasting its Time?
Washington Post online
Five months later, with the NCAA’s premier event and moneymaker — the men’s basketball tournament — about to tip-off, the sport remains in turmoil. The FBI probe continues, threatening to tarnish legacies, end careers and send coaches and shoe company officials to prison.
The NBA's Most Overpaid Players 2018
Our analysis uses a statistic called Wins Produced, which was created by my co-author, David Berri, and is calculated by BoxscoreGeeks.com. It resembles other metrics (like Win Shares) that attempt to measure how much credit a player should get for producing a win, and it similarly weights various statistical inputs (like points and turnovers) to come up with a single wins estimate.
The Heat Are Stuck Between A Rock And A Hard Place With Limited Cap Space And Few Trade Assets
For the purpose of this column, I’ll be defining “underpaid” and “overpaid” based on the data Brett Knight presented in his league-wide evaluation of the most underpaid and overpaid players around the league. As a quick refresher, Forbes uses a method, indebted to Southern Utah University Economist, David Berri, in which we multiply a player’s Wins Estimate Average by the average cost of a win.
A few days ago, it was reported that Anriel Howard was transferring from the Texas A&M Aggies to the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Howard was the most productive player on the Aggies last season, and her addition for the 2018-19 season should definitely help the Bulldogs overcome the departure of Victoria Vivians.
The match between Team USA and Team Canada for the Olympic women's hockey gold medal garnered the highest ratings of any late-night show in NBCSN's history. Since their thrilling win, members of Team USA have done a television victory tour, with appearances on the Today show, Ellen Degeneres' show and Saturday Night Live.
One of the highlights of the Winter Olympics for the United States was the gold medal victory in women's hockey. The deciding game between Team USA and Team Canada was one of the most watched game in late night show in NBCSN history. And after the game, members of this team have been guests on numerous television shows and subjects of a number of articles.
A few months ago, I argued there is a significant gender-wage gap in professional basketball. While the NBA gives 50% of its revenue to its players, it appears the WNBA pays out only about 20% of its revenue.
So it appears there is much to like about the progress women have made in sports. But not everyone is happy. Some have argued that the gains women have made have come at the expense of men. Specifically — as Katie Lee reported — people have argued that schools have been forced to cut men’s sports to make women’s sports possible.
On Sunday, the Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers for their ninth win, leaving them just shy of the playoffs but ensuring they finished the season with a winning record.
Once upon a time, opportunities for women to play team sports were scarce. Not only were women not encouraged to play, women were actively discouraged. But according to R. Vivian Acosta and Linda Jean Carpenter, as of 2014 more than 3.2 million girls (41.2% of all athletes) played high school sports while more than 200,000 women played college sports.
What we think about sports is at least partially shaped by the media that covers sports. Once upon a time, sports fans got their news primarily from a newspaper delivered to their house or bought at a newsstand. Today, sports news is primarily found online.
Ask a coach why a team won or lost, and you will soon discover a reluctance to credit or blame any one individual. Coaches love to tell people that success and failure is about the team.
The story of this misunderstanding begins in the 20th century.
WNBA players are not being treated the same as their counterparts in the NBA. The NBA pays its players about 50% of league revenue. It appears, when we look at what we know about WNBA revenue and salaries, that the league's players are receiving less than 25% of the revenue.
More than 100 million Americans will likely spend Sunday night watching the Super Bowl. Although it is not quite the same as a FIFA World Cup Final – which had one billion viewers worldwide in 2014 – the Super Bowl is still a big deal in the United States and around the world.
Why Connecticut's dominance isn't such a bad thing can be understood by considering both the history of sports and some basic sports economics. Let's start with some familiar stories from sports history.
ECON 1740 US Economic History
Satisfies American government requirement of general education. History from colonial times to present. Coverage of U.S. Constitution; national economy; pluralism; ethnicity, race, gender; distribution of wealth and power; social conflict and reform; entrepreneurs, workers, workplace; cultural encounters; popular culture; U.S. and global affairs.
ECON 2010 Principles of Microeconomics
Introduction to basic microeconomic principles: price theory, theory of the firm, trade and comparative advantage, public goods, taxation, welfare economics, and industrial organization. Public policy with regard to the environment, consumer protection, and other problems is also examined.
ECON 2020 Principles of Macroeconomics
Introduces measurements of national economic performances: GDP, and interest, inflation and unemployment rates. Develops a model to describe the economic situation, and to present the options available to policy makers. Discusses the institutions and constraints that frame policy. International economic issues and the relation of the U.S. economy to the global economy are then examined.
ECON 3010 Managerial Economics
Managerial economics applies microeconomic analysis to the management of the firm. Using economic theory, statistical analysis, and optimization methods, students solve management problems relating to pricing, production and distribution, innovation and technological change, and cost.
ECON 3230 Gender Economics
This course seeks to explain the many roles women play in the economy and how those are different (and similar) to the roles played by men. We begin with the important role inclusiveness plays in the economic growth of a nation. We then move to a discussion of the history and present reality of gender bias. This will be followed by a discussion of the theory of economic discrimination, which will then be applied to the discussion of outcomes observed with respect to education, employment, and wages. The course will then discuss “non-market” outcomes related to the economics of the family. Topics included in this section of the course include marriage and divorce, how household tasks are allocated by women and men, and teen pregnancy.
ECON 3700 Sports Economics
The study of sports economics is specifically an application of microeconomic theory and empirical analysis. By focusing on sports, students can see how the toolkit of economics can be applied to a subject the student already finds interesting. The study of sports economics also sheds light upon a host of important topics, including how to measure the productivity of a worker, whether or not workers are paid a wage consistent with their economic value, the impact of labor unions, racial discrimination, and the efficacy of public subsidies.
ECON 4900 Special Topics
Topics in specialized fields of economics and advanced quantitative methods, varying by semester. Previous topics include: Money and Banking Managerial Economics, International Trade, Industrial Organization, Labor Economics, Introduction to Political Economy, History of Economic Thought, Introduction to Econometrics, Economics of Religion, Federal Reserve.