The Comparative Economics of North American and European Sports
Edited by Carlos Pestana Barros and Muradali Ibrahímo
Chapter 3: The distribution of income in European football: big clubs, small countries, major problems
3. The distribution of income in European football: big clubs, small countries, major problems H.F. Moorhouse THE AMERICAN CHALLENGE Measured simply in terms of gross revenues, which almost doubled during the ﬁve complete seasons (1995–1999) since 1994, Major League Baseball is prospering. But that simple measurement is a highly inadequate gauge of MLB’s economic health. Because of anachronistic aspects of MLB’s economic arrangements, the prosperity of some clubs is having perverse eﬀects that pose a threat to the game’s long-term vitality. (Report of the Commissioners Blue Ribbon Panel on Baseball Economics, 2000, p. 2) The Report of the Panel on Baseball Economics published in July 2000 is a salutary document viewed by anyone interested in the well-being of European football. I will come to its diagnosis of the problems posed by prosperity soon, but we should note immediately how this major American sport: G G G G established a committee of experienced football outsiders (an academic, ex-Senator, ex-Governor of the Board of the Federal Reserve System, and so on) to examine the economic and sporting problems of the game; made the report easily available – it can, for example, be downloaded on the internet – as an aid to general discussion; set out a wide-ranging and rational appraisal of the problems and possibilities a changing situation had created – it did not spend time harking back to how some ‘traditional situation’ was so much better; is seeking to plan for the future rather than being driven by the tide of events....
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