Although initially developed as cartels of independently owned and operated clubs joining to produce a sports product for spectator consumption, professional sports leagues have emerged as monopolies wielding significant economic power. By increasing revenue-sharing practices, and thus attempting to align owner interests, leagues have become single-business entities that maximize wealth for the league as a whole. Over the past four decades, the National Football League has implemented such practices to become the most popular team sport in North America. Using agency theory, this paper examines how the NFL's former commissioner, Pete Rozelle, and the League Executive Committee used these practices in order to increase League revenues and decrease opportunistic behavior by team owners. However, certain owners continue to act entrepreneurially, to the detriment of the League as a whole. This behavior is congruent with the tenets of agency theory, which contend that interests will diverge within a principal-agent relationship (e.g., the NFL— NFL teams). Until such time that team owners realize that the welfare of the other League clubs, along with their competitive equality, is paramount in retaining interest in and producing the League product, professional sports leagues will continue to be plagued with problems such as unnecessary franchise relocations and other acts of maverick owners.
Revenue Sharing and Agency Problems in Professional Team Sport: The Case of the National Football League
Daniel S. Mason
Framing Event Legacy in a Prospective Host City: Managing Vancouver’s Olympic Bid
Stacy-Lynn Sant and Daniel S. Mason
In preparation for Olympic bids, city officials and event managers often cite event “legacies” and argue that such benefits may be realized for decades. Meanwhile, public support is extremely important when moving forward with a bid; legacy has therefore become a prominent feature in bid committee rhetoric and in the management of event bidding, and how the notion of legacy is managed in the media by bid proponents will be key to a successful bid. This paper explores how legacy was framed in the newspaper media during the Olympic bid in Vancouver, where city officials, local politicians, and members of the bid committee focused their pro-bid arguments around infrastructure, economic, and social legacies. Results show how these legacies entered the bid discourse at various points in the domestic and international bid competitions, as supporters moved away from discussions of new infrastructure development and economic impacts toward intangible event benefits.
Evaluating Monitoring Mechanisms as a Solution to Opportunism by Professional Hockey Agents
Daniel S. Mason and Trevor Slack
Focusing on player agents in professional ice hockey, this paper utilizes the theoretical construct of agency theory as a means of evaluating attempts by several stakeholder groups to find solutions to opportunistic agent behavior. As proposed by agency theorists, this would include the creation and implementation of monitoring mechanisms by industry stakeholders in order to regulate agent activities. Stakeholder groups involved include state and federal governments, the agents themselves, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and Players' Associations, which, at various times, all have adopted forms of certification programs in attempts to monitor player agents. Documentation on these programs and interviews with industry stakeholders are employed to develop criteria by which such programs can be assessed in terms of their ability to reduce traditional agency problems. In doing so, it is argued that the agency model can be used to provide additional insight into problems associated with these programs and to improve program effectiveness in monitoring hockey agent behavior.
Understanding Principal-Agent Relationships: Evidence from Professional Hockey
Daniel S. Mason and Trevor Slack
This paper examines the professional hockey industry to explore the principles of agency theory. Using basic tenets derived from the agency literature and conditions specific to the hockey industry, a series of propositions are developed. These are investigated using data from industry documents, popular articles on hockey, and interviews with players, agents, team managers and other relevant industry stakeholders. The results suggested that concerns for agent reputation, agent competition, agent certification and salary disclosure have cumulatively reduced information asymmetry favoring the agent and have decreased the likelihood of agent opportunism. This has resulted in a decrease in the use of commissions by agents, but this form of performance contingent compensation remains the most widely used form of remuneration.
Urban Regimes and the Sporting Events Agenda: A Cross-National Comparison of Civic Development Strategies
Laura Misener and Daniel S. Mason
This article examines the coalitions undergirding comprehensive sport-centered growth agendas in three cities actively pursuing sporting event development strategies: Edmonton, Canada; Manchester, United Kingdom; and Melbourne, Australia. Using DiGaetano and Klemanski’s (1999) study of modes of urban governance as a starting point, we review each city’s urban political economy, urban governing agenda, and urban governing alliances. We then discuss whether coalitions in each of the cities can be identified as regimes, by examining the conditions required for the presence of regimes developed by Dowding (2001). Results suggest the presence of regimes in each city, which can be best described using Stoker and Mossberger’s (1994) symbolic regime, developed in their typology of regimes for cross-national research. However, the cities differ slightly, with Edmonton exhibiting the characteristics of a progressive version of a symbolic regime, whereas Manchester and Melbourne more closely resemble urban revitalization regimes.
Fostering Community Development through Sporting Events Strategies: An Examination of Urban Regime Perceptions1,2
Laura Misener and Daniel S. Mason
This article examines the perceptions of members of urban regimes in three cities: Edmonton, Manchester, and Melbourne, regarding the use sporting events for broadbased community outcomes. In Edmonton, members of the urban regime interviewed did not perceive the sporting events strategy to be directly tied to community development objectives. In Manchester and Melbourne, regime members believed that the use of events for development was uniquely tied to communities and community development goals. In addition, regime members in the latter two cities provided examples of symbolic attempts to foster community around the sporting events strategies. While this study could not reveal whether attempts to meet the needs of local communities were being achieved through the sporting events strategies, it is at least encouraging to note that those who control resources and conceive of, oversee, and implement growth strategies within cities view community development as important to these strategies.
Making Settler Colonialism Visible in Sport Management
Chen Chen and Daniel S. Mason
This study discusses how an epistemological shift—explicitly acknowledging the embedded position of the sport management field in settler colonial societies and its effect on knowledge production therein—is necessary for the field to mobilize social change that problematizes and challenges ongoing settler colonialism. Reviewing previous research examining social change in sport management, the authors then argue that settler colonialism, a condition that underlies some nation-states that produce leading sport management knowledge—the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—should no longer remain invisible in our research. Drawing upon Indigenous Studies, Settler Colonial Studies, and sport-related work from other social science disciplines, the authors contextualize the position of non-Indigenous scholars and then address three questions that highlight the relevance of settler colonialism to sport management research. They conclude with a discussion on possible ways in which settler colonialism can be visibilized and thus challenged by non-Indigenous scholars.
A Postcolonial Reading of Representations of Non-Western Leadership in Sport Management Studies
Chen Chen and Daniel S. Mason
This study examines how leadership in non-Western sporting contexts has been represented in the mainstream (Western) sport management literature. A postcolonialism-informed critical discourse analysis, focusing on the locus of enunciation of each selected representation, reveals the limitations of current mainstream leadership studies in explaining phenomena in non-Western sport contexts and in fostering a comprehensive, multilayered understanding of globalization of sport. Thus, it is imperative to consider what leadership in sport means in local contexts outside the West and having multiple narratives of sport and sport leadership is therefore necessary. To illustrate this, we introduce a discussion of Indigenous leadership perspectives based on studies conducted in Indigenous communities, present ways in which Indigenous Peoples understand leadership differently from the conventional definitions, and suggest some opportunities for research. We conclude with examples in the literature where authors have been theoretically and methodologically reflexive when explaining local issues in peripheral contexts.
An Agency Theory Perspective on Corruption in Sport: The Case of the International Olympic Committee
Daniel S. Mason, Lucie Thibault, and Laura Misener
This article discusses agency problems in sport organizations in which the same individuals are involved in both the management and control of decision making. We focus our analysis on the case of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by reviewing the behavior of selected IOC members with regard to the bidding process for the Olympic Games and the resulting reform attempts made by the IOC in an effort to address issues of corruption. After a review of examples of corrupt behavior on the part of IOC members, agency theory is introduced to discuss IOC reforms and provide some suggestions for future reform. We propose incorporating other stakeholders (in addition to the IOC members), such as corporate partners, media conglomerates, and other members of the Olympic movement (e.g., athletes, coaches, officials), into management and control functions. More specifi cally, it is suggested that these stakeholders comprise a board that oversees the operations of the IOC (similar to the IOC’s current executive committee) and be given the ability to remove and/or sanction IOC members who act self-interestedly to the detriment of the Olympic movement. Thus, by delegating the control function of decision making to a board and the management function to internal agents, greater accountability for all organization members can be achieved.
Signaling Status Through Stadiums: The Discourses of Comparison Within a Hierarchy
Daniel S. Mason, Marvin Washington, and Ernest A.N. Buist
Status and reputation have become increasingly important to cities seeking to differentiate themselves in a competitive global marketplace; sports events, franchises, and infrastructure have become a critical means to contest this. This article takes a grounded theory approach and develops a series of propositions on the basis of a single case study, making several important contributions to the literature. Although others have argued for an affiliation effect, this study sheds new light on how the affiliation mechanism works by including both positive and negative affiliations. In doing so, we reveal how cities are actively managed, how sports facilities emerge as status signals on the policy agenda of entrepreneurial cities, and how notions of status are articulated and mobilized by managers.