June 02, 2003

A downright unAmerican national pastime.: Imagine a business organised as follows. The number of firms is fixed. New entrants are banned. The head of the business can threaten to close down a couple of enterprises to restrict supplies. This is possible because the activity is exempt from anti-trust law (the largest markets, such as New York and Los Angeles, have just two suppliers; most have local monopolies). Certain classes of employees are indentured servants. Rich firms pay a marginal tax of 34% of revenues to poor ones. And the government helps build the lavish corporate headquarters. The Economist takes on baseball in a pretty interesting article.

posted by Ufez Jones to baseball at 01:08 PM - 3 comments

I just wonder how much of this translates into the other American major sports leagues. Okay the luxury tax is reasonably unique but other sports get subsidies for stadiums and such. Football only sells broadcast rights as a group but the others have some local TV revenue. And the other sports do not have the antitrust exemption, though they seem to largely operate as if they do.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:40 PM on June 02, 2003

Okay the luxury tax is reasonably unique Actually, I believe the NBA has a luxury tax as well. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about the ins and outs of the league set-ups to do a very good comparison. A lot of my reason for posting this here was in hopes that someone who does have a superior knowledge can enlighten us. Anyone?

posted by Ufez Jones at 02:53 PM on June 02, 2003

I've said this before, but baseball focuses too much on competition in the entertainment space and not on competition within its own league. The commissioner's office needs to be relegated to ceremonial and "rules" status; bring back league presidents and let's get down to the brass tacks! Each team is in competition with its own kind; whether the league does well against other entertainments is for the public to decide and this will wax and wane aas surely as the moon. I love baseball but I want to see it live and age gracefully, not be proped up like some doddering old fool. If in the end all we are left with is a bunch of second rate minor league teams, so be it, I say. (And in case the thought crosses the minds of the players that this is all the owner's faults, they need to look a little closer at their tax statements.)

posted by 8ighteenAcres at 01:02 AM on June 04, 2003

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