Economics: Business of Baseball

Baseball has been a business since the 1860s when organized teams first started paying their players. Since then, baseball has become a huge business enterprise earning billions of dollars each year. In this unit, students will be introduced to basic economic concepts such as goods and services, supply and demand, and competition. Each lesson includes an activity that will allow students to practice recognizing these concepts as they relate to professional baseball. Students will also have the opportunity to practice their math skills as they calculate prices of various ballpark items.

Thematic Unit Objective

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Recognize the difference between goods and services.

Identify goods and services available in a community and in a ballpark.

Be able to explain the concept of supply and demand.

Understand how supply and demand affect prices.

Practice number operations using decimals.

Identify sources of business competition in a community.

Baseball is too much of a sport to be a business and too much of a business to be a sport.

Phil Wrigley, Owner of the Chicago Cubs from 1932 to 1977

Rookie (Grades 3-5)

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Lesson 1: (Pre-Visit) Ballpark Goods and Services

In this lesson, students will be introduced to the concept of goods and services.

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Lesson 2: (Pre-Visit) Supply and Demand

This lesson will introduce the concept of supply and demand.

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Lesson 3: (Pre-Visit) Ballpark Prices

This lesson will demonstrate addition/subtraction of decimals or multiplication/division of decimals depending on the students’ ability.

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Lesson 4: On-Site Visit or Video conference

Students will work with museum teachers to reinforce lessons about basic economic concepts introduced in the classroom.

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Lesson 5: (Post-Visit) Competition: On the Field and On the Market

Students will learn about competition in the marketplace.

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Intermediate (Grades 6-8)

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Lesson 1: (Pre-Visit) Creating a Market for Baseball

In this lesson, students will learn how the Industrial Revolution created a market for professional baseball.

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Lesson 2: (Pre-Visit) Big Business of Big Leagues

How do professional sports teams earn money? This lesson outlines sources of revenue, and looks closely at ticket sales as a source of income for professional teams.

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Lesson 3: (Pre-Visit) The Cost of Being a Fan

Students will learn how supply and demand, as well as other economic factors, affect the rising cost of attending professional sporting events.

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Lesson 4: On-Site Visit or Video conference

Students will work with museum teachers to reinforce lessons about economic concepts introduced in the classroom.

Book your field trip or video conference


Lesson 5: (Post-Visit) Big League Salaries

After learning about the many ways that teams earn money, students will look at how teams spend their money. Is it true that teams buy victory? Find out here!

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Advanced (Grades 9-12)

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Lesson 1: (Pre-Visit) Buy Me Some Peanuts and Crackerjacks!

In this lesson, students will learn about utility and marginal utility.

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Lesson 2: (Pre-Visit) Take Me Out to the Ballgame…If You Can Afford It!

This lesson builds upon students’ prior understanding of supply and demand by examining the factors influencing consumer demand.

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Lesson 3: (Pre-Visit) Measuring the Cost of Being a Fan

Students will learn how a price index is constructed and used. The Consumer Price Index and the Fan Cost Index provide real-world examples of this economic tool.

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Lesson 4: On-Site Visit or Video conference

Students will work with museum teachers to reinforce lessons about economic concepts introduced in the classroom.

Book your field trip or video conference


Lesson 5: (Post – Visit) Factors of Sports Production

In this lesson, students learn about the factors of production as they relate to professional sports.

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Common Core Standards

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CCSS ELA CONTENT: W.3.8/4.8/5.8, SL.3.1/4.1/5.1, SL.3.4/4.4/5.4
CCSS MATH CONTENT: 3.OA.A1/2, 3.NB.A.2, 4.OA.A.3, 4.NBT.B4/5/6, 5.NBT.B.5/6/7