Open Competition in League Sports

  • Stephen F. Ross
  • Stefan Szymanski


As this chapter goes to print [April 2002], Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced plans to contract from thirty to twenty-eight teams, refusing to permit the relocation of a financially troubled Montreal franchise to our Nation’s capital and strongly hinting that the refusal of Minnesota taxpayers to subsidize a new stadium will result in the demise of the Minnesota Twins.1 At the same time, Los Angeles has more than enough basketball fans to support two teams, but a wealthy mogul continues to steward the Clippers into new lows of mediocrity.2 When Tennessee wanted a pro football team, they had to shell out over $292 million in taxpayer money to lure the Houston Oilers.3 The National Hockey League has doled out American expansion franchises so artfully that the Montreal Canadiens pay more than triple the tax bills of all their American rivals combined.4 Why does this happen?


Supra Note National Football League Major League Baseball Comparative Economic National Basketball Association 
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  1. 1.
    Mark Asher & William Gildea, Selig’s Economic Recovery Pitch Elicits Few Takers, WASH. POST, Dec. 7, 2001, at D1.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Richard Hoffer, The Loss Generation, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Apr. 17, 2000, at 56.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Gordon Forbes, Oilers Ready to Pull Trigger on Move, USA TODAY, Nov. 2, 1995, at 4C.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    See Mark Asher & Dave Sheinin, Union and MLB Talk Over Plans, WASH. POST, Nov. 13, 2001, at D3.Google Scholar
  5. 17.
    See John Henderson, Contraction on Deck for Baseball, DENVER POST, Nov. 6, 2001, at D4.Google Scholar
  6. 18.
    Richard Justice, No Easy Answers; Owners’ Contraction Plan Means Questions, Controversy, Legal Issues, HOUSTON CHRON., Nov. 8, 2001, at 10B.Google Scholar
  7. 32.
    See Roger G. Noll, The Economics ofPromotion and Relegation in Sports Leagues: The Case of English Football, 3 J. SPORTS ECON. 169 (2000).Google Scholar
  8. 33.
    See, e.g., Erik Spanberg, Knights Take Swing at Building Ballpark Uptown, BUS. J. OF CHARLOTTE, Feb. 11, 2000, at 1 (describing design of proposed stadia in Charlotte and Buffalo), available at 2000 WL 14788227.Google Scholar
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    Herbert Hovenkamp, Exclusive Joint Ventures and Antitrust Policy, 1995 COLUM. BUS. L. REV. 1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stephen F. Ross and Stefan Szymanski 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen F. Ross
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stefan Szymanski
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.University of IllinoisUSA
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Imperial College School of ManagementUK
  4. 4.University of OxfordUK
  5. 5.University of LondonUK

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