Journal Article

The Organization of Sports Leagues

Roger G. Noll

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 19, issue 4, pages 530-551
Published in print December 2003 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online December 2003 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI:
The Organization of Sports Leagues

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Economic Development and Growth
  • Public Economics
  • Political Economy
  • Public Policy


Show Summary Details


Sports leagues have been organized in many different ways. This essay examines the incentive structure and efficiency of different forms of league organization, including the methods for scheduling games, admitting new members, and making operational decisions. The article also compares operations and outcomes in Europe and North America, and concludes that the European system of promotions and relegation is superior to the closed structure of American leagues, and that the American system of multiple parallel leagues to determine qualifications and seeding in a post-season tournament is efficiency enhancing. The article also discusses the optimal size and number of leagues, and concludes that both the European and American systems produce too few major-league teams, largely because they have permitted major leagues to be monopolies.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth ; Public Economics ; Political Economy ; Public Policy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.