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Revenue sharing in professional sports leagues: for the sake of competitive balance or as a result of monopsony power?

We analyze the distribution of broadcasting revenues by sports leagues. In the context of an isolated league, we show that when the teams engage in competitive bidding to attract talent, the league's optimal choice is full revenue sharing (resulting in full competitive balance) even if the revenues are independent of the level of balancedness. This result is overturned when the league has no monopsony power in the talent market. When the teams of two different leagues bid for talent, the equilibrium level of revenue sharing is bounded away from sharing of revenues: leagues choose a performance-based reward scheme. Finally, we argue that our model explains the observed differences in revenue sharing rules used by the U.S. sports leagues (full revenue sharing) and European soccer leagues (performance-based reward).

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Paper provided by Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh in its series ESE Discussion Papers with number 59.

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Length: 25
Date of creation: Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:59
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  1. Thomas Hoehn & Stefan Szymanski, 1999. "The Americanization of European football," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(28), pages 203-240, 04.
  2. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
  3. Scott E. Atkinson & Linda R. Stanley & John Tschirhart, 1988. "Revenue Sharing as an Incentive in an Agency Problem: An example from the National Football League," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(1), pages 27-43, Spring.
  4. El-Hodiri, Mohamed & Quirk, James, 1971. "An Economic Model of a Professional Sports League," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(6), pages 1302-19, Nov.-Dec..
  5. Frederic Palomino, 2000. "Competitive Balance vs. Incentives to Win: A Theoretical Analysis of Revenue Sharing," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0930, Econometric Society.
  6. Jehiel, Philippe & Benny Moldovanu, 1994. "Strategic Non-Participation," Discussion Paper Serie B 287, University of Bonn, Germany.
  7. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  8. Jehiel, Philippe & Moldovanu, Benny & Stacchetti, Ennio, 1996. "How (Not) to Sell Nuclear Weapons," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 814-29, September.
  9. Rodney Fort & James Quirk, 1995. "Cross-subsidization, Incentives, and Outcomes in Professional Team Sports Leagues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 1265-1299, September.
  10. Scully, Gerald W., 1995. "The Market Structure of Sports," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226743950.
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