January 01, 2005

"Sports franchises: [...] are targeting previously untapped ethnic groups to expand their fan bases. The Internet, the recent influx of foreign players into leagues dominated by Americans and the global appeal of athletes allow teams to pursue new fans locally and internationally."

posted by allaboutgeorge to other at 10:08 AM - 5 comments

Great article and a great post. Thanks. As I read the article I couldn't help thinking about what effect such outreach programs have on "ethnic" players in various sports. It is obvious that there is more diversity represented in sport of late—with baseball the more established and basketball up-and-coming, IMO. But I also couldn't help but think about the potential negatives. For instance, Major League Soccer (MLS) has limits on foreign-born players. And I believe I read recently that some European soccer leagues are considering something similar. I understand the spirit of the purpose in MLS where they are trying to attract more native fans to embrace a sport that is or isn't being embraced in the US depending on who you ask. But why not embrace these "minority" dollars? The NFL, NBA, etc are. As for the European perspective, I won't pretend to have enough knowledge to even hypothosize. Again, great post.

posted by scully at 04:36 PM on January 01, 2005

FWIW, Terrapin, all the European basketball leagues already have such limits.

posted by tieguy at 07:21 PM on January 01, 2005

Terrapin, all the European soccer leagues have nationality limits though I think the requirement is only that you have a passport issued by a nation in the European Union. The key reason to explain why MLS is the only American league with them is that for so long there were very few non-American/Canadians (esp. for hockey) who could make the teams and now it's too late, and unnecessary, to put them in.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:36 PM on January 01, 2005

Yeah, there are nationality limits in Europe, but they're not as draconian as they used to be before the Bosman Ruling.

posted by CountZero at 01:58 AM on January 03, 2005

I don't think the English Premier League has a limit on non-EU players provided they comply with work permit criteria laid down by the government. A non-EU player must have played 75 percent of his national side's matches over two years and the nation must be higher than 70th in the FIFA rankings. Most of the other big European leagues have quotas.

posted by Steve-o at 03:19 PM on January 03, 2005

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