Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Similar Economic Histories, Different Industrial Structures: Transatlantic Contrasts in the Evolution of Professional Sports Leagues

  • LOUIS P. CAIN (a1) and DAVID D. HADDOCK (a2)

Industries that have different structures in Europe than in America can teach useful lessons about industrial evolution. Despite similar initial histories, European professional sports leagues adopted team promotion and relegation, which facilitates much easier entry than is possible in North America, where leagues themselves create new franchises to sell to investors. By contrasting the histories of the English Football League and the National Baseball League, we show that their structures arose from differences in geographic compactness, the entertainment level of games, and territorial monopolies. As the evolution becomes more understandable, the persistence of the intercontinental difference becomes more problematic.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

DemsetzHarold (1968): “Why Regulate Utilities?Journal of Law and Economics11, no. 15565.

EckardE. Woodrow, (2005): “Team Promotion in Early Major League Baseball and the Origin of the Closed Sports League.” Explorations in Economic History42, no. 112252.

NollRoger G. (2002): “The Economics of Promotion and Relegation in Sports Leagues.” Journal of Sports Economics3, no. 2169203.

SurdamDavid (2002): “The American ‘Not-So-Socialist’ League in the Postwar Era: The Limitations of Gate Sharing in Reducing Revenue Disparity in Baseball.” Journal of Sports Economics3, no. 326490.

SzymanskiStefan (2003): “The Economic Design of Sporting Contests.” Journal of Economic Literature41, no. 4113787.

SzymanskiStefan, and AndrewZimbalist. 2005. National Pastime: How Americans Play Baseball and the Rest of the World Plays Soccer. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press,

TaylorMatthew, and JohnCoyle. “The Election of Clubs to the Football League, 1888–1939.” The Sports Historian19, no. 2 (1999): 124.

VamplewWray1988. Pay Up and Play the Game: Professional Sport in Britain, 1875–1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 24 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 347 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.