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The Institutional Framework for Doing Sports Business: Principles of EU Competition Policy in Sports Markets

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  • Oliver Budzinski

    () (Department of Environmental and Business Economics, University of Southern Denmark)

Abstract

The competition rules and policy framework of the European Union represents an important institutional restriction for doing sports business. Driven by the courts, the 2007 overhaul of the approach and methodology has increased the scope of competition policy towards sports associations and clubs. Nowadays, virtually all activities of sports associations that govern and organize a sports discipline with business elements are subject to antitrust rules. This includes genuine sporting rules that are essential for a league, championship or tourna-ment to come into existence. Of course, ‘real’ business or commercial activities like ticket selling, marketing of broadcasting rights, etc. also have to comply with competition rules. Regulatory activities of sports associations comply with European competition rules if they pursuit a legitimate objective, its restrictive effects are inherent to that objective and proportionate to it. This new approach offers important orientation for the strategy choice of sports associations, clubs and related enterprises. Since this assessment is done following a case-by-case approach, however, neither a blacklist of anticompetitive nor a whitelist of procompetitive sporting rules can be derived. Instead, conclusions can be drawn only from the existing case decisions – but, unfortunately, this leaves many aspects open. With respect to business activities, the focus of European competition policy is on centralized marketing arrangements bundling media rights. These constitute cartels and are viewed to be anticompetitive in nature. However, they may be exempted from the cartel prohibition on efficiency and consumer benefits considerations. Here, a detailed list of conditions exists that centralized marketing arrangements must comply with in order to be legal. Although this policy seems to be well-developed at first sight, a closer look at the decision practice reveals several open problems. Other areas of the buying and selling behavior of sports associations and related enterprises are considerably less well-developed and do not provide much orientation for business. The author would like to thank Arne Feddersen and the participants of the 2nd European Conference on Sports Economics (German Sports University Co-logne, 2010) for valuable comments on earlier versions of this paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Oliver Budzinski, 2011. "The Institutional Framework for Doing Sports Business: Principles of EU Competition Policy in Sports Markets," Working Papers 108/11, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sdk:wpaper:108
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas Peeters, 2011. "Broadcast Rights and Competitive Balance in European Soccer," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 6(1), pages 23-39, February.
    2. Oliver Budzinski, 2010. "An Institutional Analysis of the Enforcement Problems in Merger Control," Working Papers 101/10, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.
    3. James Keyte & Paul Eckles, 2009. "Sports Leagues and the Rule of Reason: How to Assess Internal Venture Restraints," Antitrust Chronicle, Competition Policy International, vol. 8.
    4. Helmut Dietl, 2010. "Besonderheiten des Sports ‐ Was rechtfertigt eine "eigene Ökonomik"?," Working Papers 0040, University of Zurich, Center for Research in Sports Administration (CRSA).
    5. Oliver Budzinski, 2006. "An Economic Perspective on the Jurisdictional Reform of the European Merger Control System," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200608, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    6. Tim Pawlowski & Christoph Breuer & Arnd Hovemann, 2010. "Top Clubs’ Performance and the Competitive Situation in European Domestic Football Competitions," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 11(2), pages 186-202, April.
    7. Loek Groot, 2008. "Economics, Uncertainty and European Football," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12924.
    8. Oliver Budzinski & Janina Satzer, 2011. "Sports Business and Multisided Markets: Towards a New Analytical Framework? (Long Version)," Working Papers 109/11, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.
    9. Brian M. Mills & Jason A. Winfree & Mark S. Rosentraub & Ekaterina Sorokina, 2015. "Fan substitution between North American professional sports leagues," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(7), pages 563-566, May.
    10. Daniel, Rascher, 2008. "Franchise Relocations, Expansions, and Mergers in Professional Sports Leagues," MPRA Paper 25809, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Stephen F. Ross, 2003. "Competition Law as a Constraint on Monopolistic Exploitation by Sports Leagues and Clubs," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 569-584, Winter.
    12. Smith, Aaron C.T. & Stewart, Bob, 2010. "The special features of sport: A critical revisit," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-13, February.
    13. 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.
    14. Stefan Szymanski, 2006. "Tilting the Playing Field: Why a sports league planner would choose less, not more, competitive balance," Working Papers 0620, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
    15. Budzinski, Oliver & Christiansen, Andt, 2005. "Competence Allocation in the EU Competition Policy System as an Interest-Driven Process," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(03), pages 313-337, December.
    16. Pelnar, Gregory, 2007. "Antitrust Analysis of Sports Leagues," MPRA Paper 5382, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oliver Budzinski & Janina Satzer, 2011. "Sports Business and Multisided Markets: Towards a New Analytical Framework? (Long Version)," Working Papers 1104, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
    2. Santiago-Caballero, Carlos & Fernández-Roldán Díaz, Alejandro, 2017. "Decomposing competitive balance in the major European football leagues : a Rawlsian approach," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH 24658, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    3. Budzinski, Oliver, 2012. "Impact evaluation of merger control decisions," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 75, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    4. Oliver Budzinski & Stefan Szymanski, 2015. "Are Restrictions Of Competition By Sports Associations Horizontal Or Vertical In Nature?," Journal of Competition Law and Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 409-429.
    5. Budzinski, Oliver, 2017. "Market-internal financial regulation in sports as an anticompetitive institution," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 110, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    6. Budzinski, Oliver, 2012. "Empirische Ex-Post Evaluation von wettbewerbspolitischen Entscheidungen: Methodische Anmerkungen," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 69, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    7. repec:bla:coecpo:v:36:y:2018:i:1:p:215-233 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Budzinski, Oliver & Pawlowski, Tim, 2014. "The behavioural economics of competitive balance: Implications for league policy and championship management," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 89, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    9. Budzinski, Oliver, 2017. "Four cases in sports competition policy: Baseball, judo, football, and motor racing," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 109, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    10. Budzinski, Oliver & Müller-Kock, Anika, 2016. "Market power and media revenue allocation in professonal sports: The case of formula one," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 102, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    11. Budzinski, Oliver, 2014. "The competition economics of financial fair play," Ilmenau Economics Discussion Papers 85, Ilmenau University of Technology, Institute of Economics.
    12. repec:krk:eberjl:v:2:y:2014:i:4:p:31-49 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sports business; competition policy; sporting rules; centralized marketing; sports economics;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • L41 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Monopolization; Horizontal Anticompetitive Practices
    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • M21 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Economics - - - Business Economics

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