North American Professional Sports League: A Case Study

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As each year goes by, the domestic market for the four major North American professional sports leagues becomes more and more saturated. The saturation of the market limits the domestic growth opportunities for these leagues. Additionally, the few domestic growth opportunities that are out there are so limited and unpredictable in their benefits that they are likely not worth their opportunity cost. In light of the limited growth opportunities on the home front, North American sports leagues have began to focus their opportunities on the relatively untouched international markets. Over the past few decades the MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL have all made efforts, with varying degrees of magnitude and success, to expand their brand internationally. …show more content…

The sustained success of international players such as Hakeem Olajuwon, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, Tony Parker and the Gasol brothers have certainly been leveraged overseas. The impact these foreign player’s success has manifested itself on NBA rosters. At the start of the current NBA season there were 100 foreign-born players on NBA rosters. (Helin, 2015) Clearly these foreign stars have made an impact since, just 15 years ago, there had been only 45 international players and 25 years ago there had been only 21. (“Record 101”, 2014) The success of foreign players has not only resulted in more foreign players, it has also resulted in greater ratings for the league overseas. In fact, an estimated 200 millions Chinese viewers tuned into an otherwise unimportant Milwaukee Bucks-Houston Rockets game on November 10, 2007 just because their fellow countrymen Yi Jianlin and Yao Ming were facing-off. (Yue, …show more content…

As these leagues cannot afford to remain stagnant in growth, particularly with their increasing costs and salaries, they have expanded their pursuit of growth opportunities internationally over the past few decades. While all 4 leagues have experienced some success in their international pursuits, the NBA is the league that has had the most success and is at the same time the league best suited for further success in the future. The NBA’s success, while certainly helped by the work of long-term commissioner David Stern, comes largely due to the sports built-in-advantages. More specifically, these advantages are the amount of foreign-born players who play in the NBA and the visibility and marketability of the league’s

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