North American Professional Team Sport Franchises Ownership Patterns and Global Entertainment Conglomerates

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This paper maps the current ownership patterns of North American major professional sports franchises in order to assess the extent to which they are interconnected with media/entertainment conglomerates. First, the 120 franchises are classified according to owner’s industrial sector. Second, five models of linkages between franchises and media/entertainment corporations are followed by case studies representative of each. The paper concludes that indeed empirical evidence supports the alleged increasing control of North American pro sport franchises by large media/entertainment conglomerates. However, the paper also demonstrates that the phenomenon involves much more diversity than the major conglomerates commonly identified in the current literature. Finally, the paper discusses the impacts of this trend on sport, as well as on fans.

J. Harvey and M. Cantelon are with the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON; A. Law is with the Department of Sociology at Trent University, Peterborough, ON.

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