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Sports Business Simulations What We Do

Sports Business Simulations produces Internet-based simulations of sports teams and leagues for use in the college classroom or as sports fantasy games.

What is a simulation?

A simulation is a powerful tool for explaining actions and phenomena in society is to assemble representations of the observed actions for review and evaluation. This in its simplest form is called a model.

A simulator is an advanced type of model that generally takes the form of some set of equations or materials designed to mimic the behavior and structure of the environment or thing it represents.

Models, unlike simulators, can be static (like a model airplane). But a simulator is designed to produce an action much like what it is designed to represent (a simulated airplane cockpit is designed to work like a real one). The most common example are airplane simulators. Pilots use these devices to learn how to fly large jumbo jets.

These simulators allow the user to try techniques and make errors that would be costly and even life-ending in the real world.

Simulators have evolved beyond use in aviation and taken on many forms. But simulation as a field has grown with the advent of personal computers. With software that enabled one to build complex forecasts of financial and work process patterns, simulation entered a new industry: business management. But even with the emergence of the use of simulation in business, the worlds of sports and business and simulation did not intersect.

Why simulate the sports business?

Sports is such an integral part of culture, and the focus so much on the accomplishments of the individual player, that the public seldom recognizes it as an industry, particularly in America.

The reality is that sports, by some estimates, is between $200 billion and $400 billion in size. A typical professional football game in America will draw more people than live in many towns, and employ 1,000 people. Some athletes -- pro basketball player Michael Jordan offering the best example -- command multi-million-dollar salaries, large game attendance figures, and annual product endorsement contracts greater than $10 million in some cases.

Sports stadiums cost between $10 million and as much as $1 billion. In the American context, these large facilities are paid for with a combination of government and private sector money. This fact alone is controversial, raising the question of the best use of tax-payer dollars.

From the perspective of the owners of the teams that need new stadiums, paying for these costly facilities without some financing partner places all of the cost burden on their organization, hampering their ability to afford high-priced athletes (generally the reason why the owners feel they need a new stadium).

Because of the enormous expenditures and revenues commonly associated with modern sports, and the occasionally complex interplay of public and private interests, the sports industry provides a rich subject ground for simulation. But simulation is not commonly used in the sports industry, beyond simple spreadsheets which are primitive forms of simulation. Where simulation is applied in sports, it is to mimic the actions on the playing field, like Madden NFL 200X, by EA Sports. Indeed, the vast majority of sports simulations are of the playing field, and not the business itself.

Moreover, while sports management and economics classes are growing in number around the world, there is no web-based tool designed to permit the student to simulate how sports teams and leagues behave from a business standpoint. That's the reason for the development of the products of Sports Business Simulations.

SBS simulation operating process

Running an SBS sim is a simple process. It starts when you go to the SBS login area on the SBS World home page. Just select the sim you want to visit, then press the "log in" button.

Step One: You will be taken to the login page for that sim (currently your choices are the XFL Simworld and the Oakland Baseball Simworld). In the near future, there will be more sims, all available via the SBS World Gateway.

Step Two: At the login page (shown below), you simply type in your username and password. Then press the "Login and run the simulation" button.

Both the username and the password are provided by SBS after you have purchased a SBS World Membership.

Step Three: Clicking on the button, takes you to the front page of the archive page of the simulation you choose, or if this is your second time using the sim, with an account, you will see the archives page. There, you can call up a past sim run, or start a new one, or go to SBS JobLink. The archives page is capable of storing a large number of sim runs. So you can start a run, stop in the middle of it, and return later.

Step Four: Once you decide which sim to use, old or new, you will be taken to the front page of the one you select. There, resides a brief presentation of the simulator, with this prompt called "Begin Simulation." Press it, and you will officially enter the play environmnent.

Step Five: Once in the sim environment, you start by reviewing graphs and charts and decision instructions before actually selecting what decisions you're going to make. Some managers have a predetermined "business plan" they work from, and adjust it as they go.

Depending on the simulation, the combination of decisions you can make for any given time period can reflect actual business approaches or ideas not used in comon practice, but possible.

Step Six: Once the analysis period is done, you make your set of decisions for that year, or time "round."

Step Seven: After you have completed your selections, you scroll down to a button called "Submit Decisions" and press it once. The screen will refresh and the outcome of the sim run for that period will be evident from change in the animated charts and graphs, along with other comments on the organization's performance. This varies depending on the condition of the run and the sim you are using.

You can copy tables and transfer them to a spreadsheet for further analysis, or (depending on the computer) open the table directly in MS Excel.

Simulations are fun

In addition to the ability to "run" a sports team or league and better understand key economic and business management principals , simulations are just plain fun. SBS's simulations record player scores and encourage competition between students. SBS has discovered that students actually learn faster, because they're motivated to understand how to better run the simulated organization.

We invite sports fantasy players to join the SBS world. You will find our simulation experience richer, because of our focus on representing how sports teams and leagues actually behave from a business perspective. If your interested in the dynamics of player trades and negotiations in the real sports world, join Sports Business Simulations.

In closing, we encourage you to become a member of the exciting world of Sports Business Simulations. If you have special simulation needs, please contact us. We will be happy to talk with you. If you represent a sports team or league, we wish to partner with you in the development of a simulation that represents your business. Please contact us about our SBS Sports Partners Program.

Simulation Links

Our strategic alliance partner, Forio Business Simulations, has excellent articles on simulation and e-learning. Please visit their site, at

Simulation Articles

Popular Theory Supporting the Use of Computer Simulation for Experiential Learning - David T. Bill Computer simulated environments have advanced significantly in the past 10 years. Recent advancements in graphics and processor technology have allowed for the creation of realistic electronic environments that closely replicate the job environment. Promising research and development in the areas of virtual reality and simulation engines are yielding glimpses of how future training and education may delivered.

The 2002 US Market for E-Learning Simulation Brandon-Hall's survey of the e-learning simulation market, with projections through 2011. - 12k

Simulation Emerges as Best Use of E-Learning: Brandon-Hall's second report