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ABSTRACT

Television rights are the largest component of revenues for major sports in large, rich nations. Among these nations, the market structure for rights varies due to different competition policies toward sports and television. This essay examines how game coverage, revenues, and competitive balance are affected by competition in commercial television and sales of rights. It argues that consumers are better off if television is competitive and leagues do not centralize rights sales. We conclude that centralization of rights sales does not improve competitive balance or benefit financially weak teams. Finally, while digital telecommunications are making television competitive, ending centralization of sales by leagues requires policy intervention.