The Comparative Economics of North American and European Sports
Edited by Carlos Pestana Barros and Muradali Ibrahímo
1. European and US sports business models Wladimir Andreﬀ and Paul D. Staudohar The sports business in Europe continues to evolve in interesting and important ways, not always to the satisfaction of interested parties. In some cases European paradigms closely resemble those in the United States, while in other ways the European situation is unique. This chapter examines three models of European sports: (1) amateur sports model, (2) traditional professional sports model, and (3) contemporary professional sports model. Key aspects of the sports business are reviewed in the models, including operation of club ﬁnances, access to capital markets, role of the media and inﬂuence of the labour market. We ﬁnd that the contemporary professional sports model is prominent at the highest levels of competition in Europe, and is expected to play an even greater role in the future. We then compare key features of this model with the contemporary professional sports model in the US. There is a somewhat diﬀerent mix of sports in the two areas. Football (soccer) dominates in Europe, with basketball, rugby, and ice hockey occupying crucial market niches. In the US the top four team sports are baseball, football (American style), basketball, and ice hockey. Thus, the primacy of certain sports and their potential appeal to spectator audiences are diﬀerent. Nonetheless, at the top or major league level there are numerous similarities in the nature of leagues, labour relations, ﬁnance, marketing and government regulation. Indeed, at least at the top level, there appears...
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