Relocating Teams and Expanding Leagues in Professional Sports: How the Major Leagues Respond to Market Conditions

By Frank P. Jozsa Jr.; John J. GuthrieJr. | Go to book overview

Mexico, an NFL club in Europe, or even an NBA division in Europe, make economic sense for professional sports leagues in the long run?

In Chapter Five each relocated and expansion team is ranked as either superior, average, or inferior. As in Chapters Three and Four, we updated and scored criteria to measure and analyze each club's performance since 1990. Tables list the teams and their winning percentage, home game attendance, and estimated market value, and the overall rank of the team.

In Chapter Six we analyze sports venues and discuss at length the two newest professional basketball leagues for women -- the American Basketball League ( ABL) and the Women's National Basketball Association ( WNBA). In 1997 both leagues began play with eight teams located in different cities. With scheduled play in the fall for the ABL and the summer for the WNBA, the survival of the leagues will depend on the income received from corporate sponsorships, gate attendance, and limited television revenues. The first WNBA season home attendance per franchise averaged 9,669 -- or 6,300 above their target. Average attendance per game ranged from 11,800 for the New York Liberty to 7,500 for the Charlotte Sting. What is more, over three million viewers per week watched WNBA games on NBC, ESPN, and Lifetime. According to the WNBA commissioner, "professional sports leagues are not made overnight; it's a slow building process and we're in the middle of that process right now."33

Since 1990, more than two dozen professional sports stadiums and arenas have been built in the United States and Canada. The Wall Street Journal reported that baseball stadiums constructed since the 1970s in Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, and Chicago initially generated more revenues, but once the novelty wore thin attendance declined and revenues followed suit (unless of course the home team maintained or increased its win-loss record). 34 With some of the new facilities costing in excess of $300 million, taxpayers often oppose investing public funds for the benefit of wealthy owners and high-salaried players. We comment on this issue throughout the text. 35

We conclude the book by highlighting the major findings of the research and speculate about the future of professional sports teams and leagues for the twenty-first century. In our view, the demand for quality sports entertainment will continue to surge in America, at least over the next decade. So the direction, trend, and pattern that team relocation and league expansion follow will matter to fans, television and media executives, current and prospective team owners, and the general public. Although this book, in general, documents what has taken place during the past half century, the Conclusion consolidates our findings and lays a foundation for predicting what might happen in the professional sports industry in the near future. At the same time, we expose those factors that lead television viewers to turn off broadcasts of the World Series, Super Bowl, or NBA Playoffs and instead spend their weekend afternoons watching classic movies or other programs, or participating in outdoor activities.


NOTES
1.
In a poll of seven hundred athletes who played in the 1997 AAU Junior Olympics in Charlotte, 53 percent of the boys and 34 percent of the girls expect to play profes

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Relocating Teams and Expanding Leagues in Professional Sports: How the Major Leagues Respond to Market Conditions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 11
  • Chapter 1 - Franchise Relocation, 1950 to 1977 17
  • Chapter 2 - Expansion Teams, 1950 to 1977 43
  • Notes 64
  • Chapter 3 - Franchise Relocation Since 1977 67
  • Notes 96
  • Chapter 4 - Expansion Teams Since 1977 101
  • Notes 130
  • Chapter 5 - Professional Teams Ranked by Sport 135
  • Notes 154
  • Chapter 6 - Alternative Leagues and Sports Facilities 157
  • Notes 169
  • Conclusion 173
  • Notes 180
  • Selected Bibliography 183
  • Index 203
  • About the Authors *
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