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Competition among national football leagues. Does it exist ? Should we regulate ?

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  • Yvon Rocaboy

    (CREM, UMR CNRS 6211, University of Rennes 1, France)

Abstract

It is often supposed that the stakeholders of a national football league draw more satisfaction from their sport if the league is balanced. This is the so-called Competitive balance hypothesis. If there exists an international competition like the European champions league, this hypothesis can be challenged however. The utility of national leagues’ stakeholders could be higher, the higher the probability of winning of their representative club at the international level. If it is correct, a league’s governing body intending to maximise the quality of the national league by making use of redistributive schemes would face a tradeoff between national competitive balance and international performance of the national representative club. We propose a simple microeconomic framework to model this tradeoff. If there exists a non-cooperative game among the national league governing bodies, whether it is a Nash or a Stackelberg one, this game would result in inefficient redistributive policies. We find "soft" empirical evidences suggesting that such a competition occurs among the big 5 football leagues in Europe. This result supports the idea of the creation of an international regulatory body. We derive the conditions under which the international regulatory body should ensure that the leagues’ governing bodies implement redistributive schemes guaranteeing the respect of the national competitive balance. We also emphasize the risk of experiencing a drop in the quality of leagues if one of them becomes too big relatively to the others, what we call the tragedy of the wealthy.

Suggested Citation

  • Yvon Rocaboy, 2015. "Competition among national football leagues. Does it exist ? Should we regulate ?," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 201509, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
  • Handle: RePEc:tut:cremwp:201509
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peeters, Thomas, 2012. "Media revenue sharing as a coordination device in sports leagues," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 153-163.
    2. Helmut M. Dietl & Martin Grossmann & Markus Lang, 2011. "Competitive Balance and Revenue Sharing in Sports Leagues With Utility-Maximizing Teams," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 12(3), pages 284-308, June.
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    4. Paul Madden & Terry Robinson, 2012. "Supporter Influence on Club Governance in a Sports League; a “Utility Maximization” Model," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 59(4), pages 339-360, September.
    5. 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.
    6. Palomino, Frederic & Sakovics, Jozsef, 2004. "Inter-league competition for talent vs. competitive balance," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 783-797, June.
    7. Thomas Hoehn & Stefan Szymanski, 2010. "The Americanization of European football," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Football Economics and Policy, chapter 3, pages 52-96, Palgrave Macmillan.
    8. Le Maux, Benoit & Rocaboy, Yvon, 2012. "A simple microfoundation for the utilization of fragmentation indexes to measure the performance of a team," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 491-493.
    9. Plácido Rodríguez & Stefan Késenne & Jaume García (ed.), 2013. "The Econometrics of Sport," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14811.
    10. 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, July.
    11. Rodney Fort & James Quirk, 2011. "Optimal Competitive Balance In A Season Ticket League," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(2), pages 464-473, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Avila‐Cano & Francisco Triguero‐Ruiz, 2023. "On the control of competitive balance in the major European football leagues," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 44(2), pages 1254-1263, March.
    2. Rocaboy Yvon, 2023. "Inter-league Competition and the Optimal Broadcasting Revenue-Sharing Rule," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 23(2), pages 723-756, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sports economics; National football leagues; International football league; Interleague competition; Competitive balance; Regulation of sports; European football champions league;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

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