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David Berri - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

David Berri David Berri

Professor of Economics | Southern Utah University


Specializing in evaluations of players and coaches in sports, gender issues in sports, and competitive balance in sports


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.





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Meet Our Professors: David Berri, Economics


Industry Expertise (5)


Sport - Amateur

Sport - Professional

Writing and Editing

Business Services

Areas of Expertise (12)

Distrubution of Wealth and Power

Unpaid Athletes in the NCAA

NBA Salary Caps

Sports Economics


Gender Wage Gap in Sports

Gender Issues in Sports

Evaluation of Players and Coaches in Sports


Competitive Balance in Sports

Pay Equality in Sports

Gender Wage Gap in Professional Basketball

Education (3)

Colorado State University: Ph.D., Economics

Colorado State University: M.A., Economics

Nebraska Wesleyan University: B.A., Economics

Accomplishments (3)

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

Media Appearances (30)

'Not a risk at all': Why college football coaches are guaranteed more money than ever

USA Today  online


Michigan State athletics booster Mat Ishbia didn’t really consider the financial risk last year when he decided to help fund a fully guaranteed 10-year, $95 million contract for football coach Mel Tucker.

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The monetization of college sports

NPR  radio


For student athletes, long gone are the days of shady, under-the-cover deals. After the NCAA changed its stance on NIL – that's name, image, and likeness for short – college sports stars are now able to pursue brand deals with different sponsors from the local taco shop to Lamborghini.

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The NFL draft is designed to promote parity in the league. That provides an incentive to lose on purpose.

Marketplace  online


The NFL draft, which kicks off in Las Vegas Thursday night, has become a big deal. You could argue that, in some ways, it’s bigger than the Super Bowl.

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FOX 13 News 360: Making the Utah Jazz champions

Fox 13 News  online


When you look at the analysis of Dr. David Berri, the Jazz would have won the championship if they entered the playoffs with their core players healthy.

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You’re Paying for Sports Stadiums You Don’t Even Go To

Lit Hub  online


“The non-economic reason is this: The fans cannot live without these teams,” according to David Berri, an economics professor at Southern Utah University who specializes in sports economics.

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When collegiate sports are sidelined, schools and local economies take a hit

Marketplace  online


“Top college football coaches are paid the same salaries as top NFL coaches,” said David Berri, economics professor at Southern Utah University.

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Fearing cuts, non-revenue college sports look for ways to ‘weather this storm’

The Washington Post  online


“If the program was viable before this took place, then it will be viable after this takes place,” said David Berri, a sports economist and professor at Southern Utah.

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Strongest will be ready to seize even more power when crisis ends

The Sunday Telegraph  online


Sports economist David Berri says: “I do not expect there to be any significant long-run cost to sport. In fact, there could be a boost to demand.”

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The NBA could lose billions this season. Who will eat that loss?

CNN Sports  online


Salvaging the playoffs would mean making good on its lucrative TV deal, a matter of urgency for the NBA, according to David Berri, professor of economics at Southern Utah University.

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Coronavirus: What will economic hit be for Warriors, Sharks, other Bay Area pro teams?

The Mercury News  online


David J. Berri, a professor of economics at Southern Utah University, said sports teams eventually will recover when quarantines are lifted and the competitions resume.

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A typically noisy sports month is silenced by coronavirus cancellations

The Washington Post  online


David Berri, an economics professor at Southern Utah University, said this tumultuous period won’t impact the sports fan’s appetite or any long-term demand.

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A typically noisy sports month is silenced by coronavirus cancellations

The Washington Post  online


Most major professional leagues and college conferences suspended operations, taking unprecedented measures in response to the coronavirus that continues to upend lives and daily routines. David Berri, an economics professor at Southern Utah University, said this tumultuous period won’t impact the sports fan’s appetite or any long-term demand.

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NCAA asserts collegiate values for bowls, but leaves room for liquor, casino sponsors

USA Today  online


But what the NCAA says about its standards can be quite different from what it actually does, said David Berri, a sports economist at Southern Utah University who has studied NCAA issues.

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We broke down 4 common arguments about equal pay in women’s pro sports

The Lily  online


David Berri, professor of economics at Southern Utah University, says the problem plaguing the pay scale in women’s sports is the same problem facing women in most industries. “It’s all the same story. Men are making decisions about women’s sports. And the attitude of men seems to be that women should be grateful that they can play at all.”

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Wages of Wins- Using Sports Analytics to drive better decision making w/David Berri

Apple Podcast: It's Not Just A Game  online


On today's episode of the It's Not Just A Game Podcast, Chrissi Sanders chats with author, sports economist and University of Southern Utah sports business and gender economics professor David Berri about using data and analytics to make better decisions in sports.

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Can marketing players year-round boost WNBA revenues? How league and union are working to increase player visibility

The Athletic  online


When the final buzzer concludes the WNBA season, the players don't rest. Mere days after the season ends, a majority of WNBA players take off to all corners of the world to compete in international basketball leagues that provide the greatest source of their income as professional athletes.

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California Has a New Equal-Pay Act for Athletes



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.

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Competition between sports for fans' money and attention is increasingly fierce

The Economist  online


“The more inclusive you make sports, the wider the market is going to be,” says Dave Berri, a sports economist from Southern Utah University.

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Hail to the (Underpaid) Champs: A Long Legacy of Sexism in Sports

The New York Times  online


David Berri, an economist at Southern Utah University, writing about male and female basketball pay in Forbes: “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.”

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The Heat Are Stuck Between A Rock And A Hard Place With Limited Cap Space And Few Trade Assets

Forbes  online


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.

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Multimillion-dollar deals become more common in squeezeplay era of economic superstars

WhyY  online


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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With NBA Picks, Data Can Only Take You So Far

Marketplace  online


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.

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Why N.H.L. Teams May Not Enjoy the Comforts of Home Ice

The New York Times  print


“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.”

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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.”

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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."

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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.

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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.

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Articles (14)

Sports Economics Must Improve by Including Women in the Data Set



For much of the past 25 years I have been researching and teaching sports economics, investigating labor strikes, competitive balance, labor productivity, decision-making, coaching impact and labor market discrimination. The topics are quite different, but they often had one thing in common: The participants in the sports discussed were almost always men.

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Why Doesn't the NBA Call Cheryl Reeve



There is a strong argument that no coach in professional North American team sports has been more successful than Reeve in the past decade.

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The Ugly Side of the Beautiful Game

Milken institute Review


In a country seemingly rabid only for sports in which players can use their hands, soccer roared into hearts and headlines this summer. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) successfully defended its World Cup in July, but it wasn’t just its success on the field that captured the public’s imagination. Rather, each satisfying win rallied more sentiment to a team fighting for equal pay in the courts.

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The WNBA's Orchard Needs More Investment To Bear Fruit In the Future



A professional sports league is very much like an orchard. It costs quite a bit of money to get started. And there is definitely a lag between that initial investment and the time your league will bear enough fruit to make your investment seem worthwhile. Unlike an orchard, though, the time it takes a league to be successful is not measured in years. The history of sports leagues tells us it is better to think about this in terms of decades.

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As Anriel Howard Shows, Underpayment Of Elite Women's Basketball Players Only Begins In College



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.

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We Subsidize Men's Sports. Maybe It's Time To Subsidize Women's Sports



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.

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Numbers Say The Wisconsin Badgers Really Exploited Hilary Knight



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.

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Did Growth Of Women's College Sports Cost Men? Data Says No



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.

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Black NFL Coaches Appear Much More Likely To Be Fired With A Winning Record



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.

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Stephen Curry Would Hate To Be Paid Like Women In Professional Basketball



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.

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The Future Of The WNBA Would Be Helped By Higher Pay Today



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.

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Some Popular Sports Sites Appear To Cover More Animals Than Women



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.

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Think Women Don't Know Sports? You Don't Know As Much About Sports As You Think



The story of this misunderstanding begins in the 20th century.

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Basketball's Growing Gender Wage Gap: The Evidence The WNBA Is Underpaying Players



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.

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Courses (7)

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.