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International Sports League Comparisons

  • Helmut Dietl


    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Rodney Fort


    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Markus Lang


    (Sport Management, University of Michigan)

Comparisons between European and North American sports leagues have occurred over the years. In this paper, we attempt to bring these comparisons down to the essential elements -what has come to be called Rottenberg's (1956) invariance principle and theoretical insights into attempts to alter competitive balance using revenue sharing, talent drafts, and payroll caps. We also examine player reserve systems (the reserve clause in North American leagues and transfer restrictions in European leagues) and differences in objective functions (North American leagues are treated under profit maximization while European leagues are treated under utility maximization and win maximization). The focus is on model predictions compared to actual outcomes, and any differences between North America and Europe.

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Paper provided by University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU) in its series Working Papers with number 0144.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iso:wpaper:0144
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  1. Helmut Dietl & Egon Franck & Markus Lang, 2005. "Overinvestment in Team Sports Leagues: A Contest Theory Model," Working Papers 0038, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised 2007.
  2. Helmut Dietl & Egon Franck & Markus Lang, 2008. "Why football players may benefit from the ‘shadow of the transfer system’," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 129-151, October.
  3. Rodney Fort & Jason Winfree, 2009. "Sports Really are Different: The Contest Success Function and the Supply of Talent," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 69-80, February.
  4. Stergios Skaperdas, 1996. "Contest success functions (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 283-290.
  5. Stefan Szymanski & Stefan KÈsenne, 2004. "Competitive balance and gate revenue sharing in team sports," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 165-177, 03.
  6. Stephen T. Easton & Duane W. Rockerbie, 2005. "Revenue Sharing, Conjectures, and Scarce Talent in a Sports League Model," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 6(4), pages 359-378, November.
  7. Helmut Dietl & Martin Grossmann & Markus Lang, 2009. "Competitive Balance and Revenue Sharing in Sports Leagues with Utility-Maximizing Teams," Working Papers 0033, University of Zurich, Center for Research in Sports Administration (CRSA), revised Jun 2010.
  8. Helmut M. Dietl & Markus Lang & Alexander Rathke, 2011. "The Combined Effect Of Salary Restrictions And Revenue Sharing In Sports Leagues," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(2), pages 447-463, 04.
  9. Yang-Ming Chang & Shane Sanders, 2009. "Pool Revenue Sharing, Team Investments, and Competitive Balance in Professional Sports A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 10(4), pages 409-428, August.
  10. Peter Antonioni & John Cubbin, 2000. "The Bosman Ruling and the Emergence of a Single Market in Soccer Talent," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 157-173, March.
  11. Markus Lang & Martin Grossmann & Philipp Theiler, 2011. "The Sugar Daddy's Game: How Wealthy Investors Change Competition in Professional Team Sports," Working Papers 1107, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists, revised Mar 2011.
  12. Dietl, Helmut M. & Franck, Egon & Hasan, Tariq & Lang, Markus, 2009. "Governance of professional sports leagues--Cooperatives versus contracts," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 127-137, June.
  13. Jason Winfree & Rodney Fort, 2012. "Nash Conjectures and Talent Supply in Sports League Modeling," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 13(3), pages 306-313, June.
  14. Helmut M. Dietl & Egon Franck & Markus Lang & Alexander Rathke, 2012. "Salary Cap Regulation In Professional Team Sports," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(3), pages 307-319, 07.
  15. Christian Riis & Derek J. Clark, 1997. "Contest success functions: an extension," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 201-204.
  16. John Vrooman, 2007. "Theory Of The Beautiful Game: The Unification Of European Football," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(3), pages 314-354, 07.
  17. Stefan Szymanski, 2003. "The Economic Design of Sporting Contests," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1137-1187, December.
  18. Bernd Frick & Gunnar Pietzner & Joachim Prinz, 2007. "Career Duration a Competitive Environment: The Labor Market for Soccer Players in Germany," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 33(3), pages 429-442, Summer.
  19. KÉSENNE, Stefan, . "Revenue sharing and competitive balance in professional team sports," Working Papers 1999019, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  20. Rodney Fort & James Quirk, 2007. "Rational Expectations And Pro Sports Leagues," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 54(3), pages 374-387, 07.
  21. Sloane, Peter J, 1971. "The Economics of Professional Football: The Football Club as a Utility Maximiser," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 18(2), pages 121-46, June.
  22. Fort, Rodney, 2000. "European and North American Sports Differences(?)," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 47(4), pages 431-55, September.
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