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Revenue Sharing in Sports Leagues: The Effects on Talent Distribution and Competitive Balance


  • Phillip Miller

    () (Department of Economics, Minnesota State University)


This paper uses a three-stage model of non-cooperative and cooperative bargaining in a free agent market to analyze the effect of revenue sharing on the decision of teams to sign a free agent. We argue that in all subgame perfect Nash equilibria, the team with the highest reservation price will get the player. We argue that revenue sharing will not alter the outcome of the game unless the proportion taken from high revenue teams is sufficiently high. We also argue that a revenue sharing system that rewards quality low-revenue teams can alter the outcome of the game while requiring a lower proportion to be taken from high revenue teams. We also argue that the revenue sharing systems can improve competitive balance by redistributing pivotal marginal players among teams.

Suggested Citation

  • Phillip Miller, 2006. "Revenue Sharing in Sports Leagues: The Effects on Talent Distribution and Competitive Balance," Working Papers 0627, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:spe:wpaper:0627

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jijfss:v:6:y:2018:i:3:p:71-:d:162242 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Rockerbie, Duane & Easton, Stephen, 2017. "Risk Diversification from Revenue Sharing in a Professional Sports League: Measuring Welfare Gains," MPRA Paper 77431, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:cen:wpaper:13-54 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Rockerbie, Duane, 2007. "Free Agent Auctions and Revenue Sharing: A Simple Approach," MPRA Paper 2218, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    competitive balance; revenue sharing; sports labor markets; free agency;

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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