Sport franchises are challenged to operate within the fast-changing environment of the professional sport industry. The purpose of this paper is to ascertain the extent to which these organizations are changing and to understand why some organizations have embraced the competitive strategies and institutional beliefs of their contemporary environment, while others have remained relatively unchanged. The concept of archetypes was used to create two templates for professional sport franchises: The sport-centered archetype and the business-centered archetype. Data were then collected from interviews with representatives of five AAA baseball franchises, documents were retained from the league's public relations firm and the franchises themselves, and information was assembled from newspapers and trade magazines. The results of the research indicated that one organization was in the sport-centered archetype, three were in the business-centered archetype, and one was between the two archetypes. It was found that a trigger for change and the ownership of the franchise impacted heavily on the ability of the franchises to adapt to their contemporary environment.
Laura Cousens is with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. She is a sessional instructor at the School of Human Kinetics at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z1.