Three arguments concerning the ownership of professional sports are advanced in this paper. First, sports team owners do not maintain the social and corporate linkages found among capitalists in other industries. Second, these owners participate in the sports industry because it is both profitable and secure (a) through tax incentives and (b) because it is a self-regulating monopoly. Finally, the workings of a self-regulating monopoly and the popularity of sport enhance the reproduction of capitalist social relations and ideology. Sport is seen to represent the mythical ideal of meritocracy where hard work can lead to ownership and participation in America’s games. This ideal ignores the reality that sports team ownership is based on enormous wealth, not merit.
Direct all correspondence to D. Stanley Eitzen, Sociology Department, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO 80523.