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

age, and a smaller proportion ranked inferior relative to those in the NFL. In contrast, the expansion teams in MLB achieved greater success in average performance, attendance, and market value in the 1990s than the expansion teams in the other sports.

We suggest that the future growth and success of these sports leagues depend on team rivalries, the competitiveness of the teams, and the entertainment value of the sports to the public. The sport that offers the opportunity for average and inferior teams in small- and medium-markets to improve performance, that attracts fans from their local and regional areas, and that broadcasts into international markets, will dominate the sports industry in the early twenty-first century. 6

We also concur with sports researchers Dennis Zimmerman and William A. Cox that leagues should ease restrictions on the relocation of franchises. While they concede that fans and public officials in cities loosing a team would mourn the loss, their counterparts in the newly enfranchised cities "would be jubilant." Although fan satisfaction remains difficult to quantify, Zimmerman and Cox contend that it may increase after the move. Accordingly, owners move their teams to sites with better prospects for earning profits. Thus, the owner anticipates more fans supporting the team at the new location. 7

Besides relaxing constraints on franchise relocation, MLB should also ease the restrictions on the number of teams and situating new ones in the most lucrative markets that have large populations and "valuable local radio and television rights." As Zimmerman and Cox put it: "Increasing the supply of franchises in large-revenue markets could make the large-revenue clubs economically similar to small-revenue clubs. If competitive balance is sensitive to equality of financial resources, this would be an effective policy." 8


NOTES
1.
In 1998, ticket sales rose 25 percent for the Brewers and the team's travel expenses diminished and television ratings increased due to realignment. See Frederick Klein , "For the Brewers of Milwaukee, a Brave Change", Wall Street Journal ( 13 March 1998), B10; "What Will Switch Do to Brewers?" at < http://www.austin360.com > cited 11 November 1997; Bob Wolf, "N.L. Brewers Can Go Home Again", at the Web site < http://www.sportingnews.com> cited 18 March 1998.
2.
Since 1988 forty-two naming rights agreements totaling $1 billion have been signed and another $2 billion in deals are likely by 2002. Professional sports teams in Atlanta, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Raleigh have recently signed agreements or are seeking sponsors through naming rights for their stadiums or arenas. See Stefan Fatsis , "Staples to Attach Its Name to Arena in Los Angeles", Wall Street Journal ( 2 December 1997), B6; H. Bodley, "Selling of Stadium Names Reveals Sorry State", at the Web site <http://www.usatoday.com> cited 24 March 1998; "Ilitch Might Have to Sell Ballpark Name", at <http://www.cnnsi.comU+03E cited 10 March 1998; "Tampa Bay's New Stadium Get a Name", at the Web site <http://www.cnnsi.com> cited 7 July 1998.
3.
To appreciate what cities will do to lure a professional sports team, see Jeffrey Ball , "Hail Mary? Birmingham Dreams of a New Stadium", Wall Street Journal ( 14 January 1998), S1.

-180-

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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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