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Rodney Paul and Andrew Weinbach

The terms competitive balance and uncertainty of outcome are often used interchangeably, but their methods of calculation are distinct. Competitive balance is typically measured ex post, while uncertainty of outcome is measured ex ante. We compare the differences and similarities in these measures by using recent data on the NBA and NFL. The two measures are found to be closely related in the NBA, but are quite different in the NFL. While competitive balance was shown to worsen in the NFL, uncertainty of outcome has remained generally unchanged. This illustrates the importance of understanding which measure consumers actually use when making decisions.
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Michael Barry, James Skinner and Terry Engelberg

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Edited by Michael Barry, James Skinner and Terry Engelberg

Employment relations, much discussed in other industries, has often been neglected in professional sports despite its unique characteristics. The book aims to explore in detail the unique nature of the employment relationship in professional sports and the sport industry.
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Berndt Keller

In this chapter we elaborate on the emerging supranational modes of sports governance in Europe with special consideration of the most recent transformation of professional football. Throughout the chapter we argue from an employment relations perspective and analyze our specific case in a broader, comparative perspective of European employment relations, especially working conditions. We do not provide another analysis in a purely legal perspective and do not describe again the protracted history. After introductory remarks on institutional characteristics, we first elaborate on the corporate actors on both sides (FIFPro, EPFL, ECA). Then, we analyze the first outcome of their sectoral social dialogue, the “Autonomous agreement regarding the minimum requirements for standard player contracts in the professional football sector,” presenting a detailed preliminary assessment of procedural difficulties and lasting problems. Next, we discuss various issues and regional problems of transposition and implementation of EU regulation at national level in the UEFA territory, that is, within and outside of the EU. An outlook on some future problems of co-regulation at European and national level concludes the chapter.
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Lisa Pike Masteralexis

This chapter discusses the regulatory framework of sports agents in the modern sports industry. The history plus factors that led to the emergence and rapid growth of the sports agent industry are reviewed to better understand challenges that regulators face in the current competitive industry landscape. The sport industry has grown exponentially, and since the 1970s, so too has the sports agent business. Despite the emergence of a complex and multi-tiered regulatory system, both public and private, agent misbehavior and the subordination of the best interests of the athlete have become widespread. In response to the current regulatory framework and the ethical and legal violations of sports agents that persist, this chapter concludes with recommendations for future research to improve the effectiveness of the current regulatory framework.
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Simon Gardiner and Roger Welch

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Simon Gardiner and Roger Welch

This chapter focuses on restraints on the freedom of movement and contract of professional sports participants. The emphasis is on the legality of transfer systems under European Union law – particularly Article 45 TFEU – in the wake of the 1995 Bosman ruling, and the adoption by FIFA of international transfer rules intended to enhance the mobility of players under contract. The chapter argues these rules have, in practice, failed to enhance player mobility so that their compatibility with Article 45 is in doubt. The chapter also critically examines the use of transfer windows, and rules which prohibit players under contract from approaching other clubs, or vice versa, with a view to moving to a new club. The chapter contends that the optimum method for the regulation of these issues would be through the adoption of a system of reflexive law using the method of EU social law as a paradigm.
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John Solow and Peter von Allmen

In this chapter we discuss the idiosyncratic nature of labor contracts in North American professional baseball, football, ice hockey, and basketball and how the long-term employment relationships that result from such contracts impact performance incentives, job security, and risk allocation. These labor markets differ greatly from sport to sport and involve multiple levels of bargaining. The outcome of the bargain between the league and the players’ union determines the contract space within which individual players can bargain with individual teams and may include such things as minimum and maximum salary levels, salary guarantees, and allowable contract length. Accordingly, it is difficult to draw overarching conclusions. We sketch a general theoretical framework in which to consider the issues, address the roles played by players, teams, player associations, and leagues, and then survey some of the empirical literature pertaining to performance, pay, and risk allocation.
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Matt Nichol

Major League Baseball (‘MLB’) in the United States is the world’s premier professional baseball league, both in terms of the standard of competition and salary.Players earn from the minimum wage of US$500,000, up to hundreds of millions of dollars. The question this chapter explores is how labor is regulated in MLB. To answer this question, the labor controls that compose MLB’s internal system of labor regulation will be explored, along with the regulatory actors that operate in this system. The interaction between MLB’s internal system of regulation with external regulation by government and courts is also examined. This regulatory system will be analyzed in the context of regulatory theory and labor law literature.