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Article
Publication date: 6 February 2009

Nnamdi Madichie

The purpose of this paper is to show how one of the biggest phenomena of the twenty‐first century is the internationalisation of professional sports and how premier league

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how one of the biggest phenomena of the twenty‐first century is the internationalisation of professional sports and how premier league football epitomises this. With the influx of foreign players, managers and now owners, European League Football has become big business. This paper aims to provide a theoretical analysis of the management implications of foreign players in the English Premiership League football – renamed the Barclays Premier League to suit the needs of its major sponsors.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach adopted is purely qualitative in nature, evaluating the top Barclays Premier League teams and the impact of globalisation on their reconfigurations since the early 1990s to date. The study draws mainly from a review of the extant literature on sports and management, as well as a critical analysis of media reports.

Findings

Globalisation has emerged as a new force that has changed the way corporations are managed. Financial services, retail and information technology firms have all responded to this new wave – and so also has sports. Unfortunately while sports have the potential to teach lessons on management strategy, management researchers seem to have relegated sports to the sociology and psychology disciplines.

Practical implications

The Barclays Premier league football provides a unique environment for management decisions and processes to occur in a range of markets and at varied levels. However, the globalisation of professional sports has received relatively very little attention in the academic literature – especially in the field of business and management.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the scant literature on the management implications of football by highlighting how globalisation has affected and reconfigured professional sports using the influx of foreign players into the English football league as a point of departure.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 47 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 December 2021

Bill Gerrard and Morten Kringstad

The purpose of this paper is to address the problem of designing league regulatory mechanisms given the multi-dimensionality of competitive balance and the proliferation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the problem of designing league regulatory mechanisms given the multi-dimensionality of competitive balance and the proliferation of empirical measures.

Design/methodology/approach

A three-stage approach is adopted. Firstly, a taxonomy of empirical measures of competitive balance is proposed, identifying two fundamental dimensions – win dispersion and performance persistence. Secondly, a simple two-team model of league competitive balance is used to explore the dispersion–persistence relationship. Third, correlation and regression analysis of seven empirical measures of competitive balance for the 18 best-attended top-tier domestic football leagues in Europe over the 10 seasons, 2008–2017, are used to (1) validate the proposed categorisation of empirical measures into two dimensions; and (2) investigate the nature of the dispersion–persistence relationship across leagues.

Findings

The simple model of league competitive balance implies a strong positive dispersion–persistence relationship when persistence effects increase for big-market teams relative to those for the small-market teams. However, the empirical evidence indicates that while leagues such as the Spanish La Liga exhibit a strong positive dispersion–persistence relationship, other leagues show little or no relationship, and some leagues, particularly, the English Premier League and top-tier divisions in Belgium and Netherlands, have a strong negative dispersion–persistence relationship. The key policy implication for leagues is the importance of understanding the direction and impact of dispersion and persistence effects on the demand for league products.

Originality/value

The variability in the strength and direction of the dispersion–persistence relationship across leagues is an important result that undermines the “one-size-fits-all” approach to designing league regulatory mechanisms.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 2011

Adrian Pritchard

The cricket Indian Premier League (IPL) was set up in late 2007 and played for the first time in 2008. The IPL is probably the first time in the history of professional…

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Abstract

The cricket Indian Premier League (IPL) was set up in late 2007 and played for the first time in 2008. The IPL is probably the first time in the history of professional team sport that an Asian league has become stronger than a European one. This paper examines the IPL's first year of operation, comparing its organisation with Major League Baseball and the English Football League. The paper concludes that the IPL has more in common with Major League Baseball, although it has, in some respects, proved more flexible than both in its mode of operation.

Details

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1464-6668

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 September 2017

Steve Bullough and James Jordan

From the 2006-2007 season, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) introduced regulation into European football by imposing “home-grown” quotas on clubs. The…

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Abstract

Purpose

From the 2006-2007 season, Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) introduced regulation into European football by imposing “home-grown” quotas on clubs. The purpose of this paper is to remedy partial market failure by influencing issues in the game, namely reducing opportunities for “local” players and stockpiling players. Rule changes have amplified the importance of developing “home-grown” players; however, the UEFA rule is not limited by nationality, which is an inhibiting factor.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample used was the ten seasons from the introduction of the legislation (2006-2007 to 2015-2016). The results quantify English player production in these ten seasons, focusing on outputs (number of players, top-flight playing statistics, academy attended, club played for, age and international experience). Clubs are also categorised and analysed by the number of seasons played.

Findings

A total of 369 English players have debuted since 2006-2007, although only 141 developed through the eight “category 1” (ever-present) clubs. A high proportion of players are developing at elite clubs but having limited playing time and subsequently transferring to lower ranked clubs. The clubs promoted to the English Premier League (EPL) each season have introduced more English players into the EPL (167) than “category 1” clubs (112), and these clubs account for a minority of minutes played by new entrants (13 per cent). Furthermore, clubs outside the EPL are producing a significant number of English players, including those progressing to the national team.

Originality/value

Competing organisational purposes between the EPL, the FA and professional clubs have combined to create a complex environment and options for the future are discussed.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 September 2021

Rory Bishop, Aaron C.T. Smith and Daniel Read

This article provides a plain language commentary on the distributive equity structure of the English Premier League (EPL) with the aim of introducing sport business…

Abstract

Purpose

This article provides a plain language commentary on the distributive equity structure of the English Premier League (EPL) with the aim of introducing sport business practitioners to a foundational challenge facing professional leagues as they grow financially with market opportunities, namely financial inequality between clubs.

Design/methodology/approach

Introducing and discussing data from seasons 2009/10–2018/19, the article reveals that despite maintaining a consistent distribution of the EPL prize fund over time, the financial imbalance within the league has grown throughout the period.

Findings

The EPL's financial distributive equity is exacerbated by growing imparity in the acquisition of sponsorship revenues, the distribution of broadcasting revenues and the implications of policies concerning financial fair play and parachute payments, leading to a problematic differential in the talent distribution and win–wage relationship experienced by the top six teams and the remainder.

Practical implications

The EPL's market-driven continuation of its revenue allocation policies has led to a broadening financial imbalance, in favour of the top clubs, which could paradoxically undermine the financial security of the teams and league. Sport business practitioners should be familiar with this fundamental challenge for sport leagues that accompanies financial growth.

Originality/value

Whilst the percentage difference in prize fund allocation between top and bottom clubs appears minor, there is a significant financial variation across the league, primarily due to the large increase in broadcasting income. This is compounded by positive feedback via the relative dominance of the top six clubs receiving the larger share allocated to higher finishing teams.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 November 2020

Daniel Plumley, Jean-Philippe Serbera and Rob Wilson

This paper analyses English Premier League (EPL) and English Football League (EFL) championship clubs during the period 2002–2019 to anticipate financial distress with…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper analyses English Premier League (EPL) and English Football League (EFL) championship clubs during the period 2002–2019 to anticipate financial distress with specific reference to footballs' Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

Design/methodology/approach

Data was collected for 43 professional football clubs competing in the EPL and Championship for the financial year ends 2002–2019. Analysis was conducted using the Z-score methodology and additional statistical tests were conducted to measure differences between groups. Data was split into two distinct periods to analyse club finances pre- and post-FFP.

Findings

The results show significant cases of financial distress amongst clubs in both divisions and that Championship clubs are in significantly poorer financial health than EPL clubs. In some cases, financially sustainability has worsened post-FFP. The “big 6” clubs – due to their size – seem to be more financially sound than the rest of the EPL, thus preventing a “too big to fail” effect. Overall, the financial situation in English football remains poor, a position that could be exacerbated by the economic crisis, caused by COVID-19.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are not generalisable outside of the English football industry and the data is susceptible to usual accounting techniques and treatments.

Practical implications

The paper recommends a re-distribution of broadcasting rights, on a more equal basis and incentivised with cost-reduction targets. The implementation of a hard salary cap at league level is also recommended to control costs. Furthermore, FFP regulations should be re-visited to deliver the original objectives of bringing about financial sustainability in European football.

Originality/value

The paper extends the evidence base of measuring financial distress in professional team sports and is also the first paper of its kind to examine this in relation to Championship clubs.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 May 2021

Victor Balassiano and Steve Bullough

This study quantifies academy productivity within English football clubs that have competed in the second tier (Championship) between 2017 and 2020. Previous research has…

Abstract

Purpose

This study quantifies academy productivity within English football clubs that have competed in the second tier (Championship) between 2017 and 2020. Previous research has outlined that clubs situated underneath the top leagues have an important role in the development of elite professional players. This study aims to examine that level of the pathway further in England.

Design/methodology/approach

The utilisation of academy players was conducted with data from 33 eligible clubs, from 2017/2018 to 2019/2020. Two measures of productivity are defined for comparison: “Utilisation” (the total minutes played by academy graduates) and “Starts” (the number of times an academy player started for the first team). To quantify these measures, players and clubs’ indices were also defined through two perspectives: “global” (proportion of all games played from 2017/2018 to 2019/2020) and “local” (proportion of games the player featured only). Nationality and position were also included.

Findings

Headline findings demonstrate large differences between clubs for the type and proportion of playing opportunities created. The data outlines that academy graduates have greater utilisation and starts in cup competitions, particularly the English Football League cup. Clubs in the sample being relegated from the Premier League into the Championship recorded weaker “utilisation” and “starts” compared to those that competed in the lower divisions. Academies are producing and using a greater proportion of defensive players (goalkeepers, defenders, defensive midfielders) compared to more attacking sectors of the pitch.

Originality/value

This offers useful insight for academy managers, allowing comparisons between clubs. It has implications for future strategies around the role of the academy and approaches to generating player opportunity.

Details

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 27 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 November 2022

Fabio Wagner, Mathias Schubert, Holger Preuss and Thomas Könecke

The Premier League (PL) and the Bundesliga (BL) were chosen for this study due to their fundamentally different approaches to ownership regulation and the distribution of…

Abstract

Purpose

The Premier League (PL) and the Bundesliga (BL) were chosen for this study due to their fundamentally different approaches to ownership regulation and the distribution of media revenues. Regulation in the PL is very liberal if compared to the BL's 50+1-rule. In the BL, the distribution of media revenues is mainly based on past performance, whereas equal distribution is dominant in the PL. The specific aim of this paper was a longitudinal analysis with a focus on the final outcome of the seasons.

Design/methodology/approach

This study looks at competitive intensity (CI) in the men's BL and the English PL because it is a crucial indicator for the long-term success of a sports league and the participants. To calculate the CI of both leagues and of all relevant sub-competitions (championship, Champions League (CL), Europa League (EL), Conference League (CoL) and fight against relegation), a CI index (CII) model was generalised and applied for an examination period spanning from 1998/99 to 2020/21.

Findings

Until 2008/09, seasonal CI in the BL was somewhat higher than in the PL. But afterwards, the BL's championship race's CI dropped considerably, while the PL's CI for qualification for the CL rose profoundly. Results also showed that the introduction of the CoL raised the leagues' CI indices.

Originality/value

Besides a methodological contribution with the generalisation of the applied CI index model, the findings are discussed in the context of the above-mentioned regulatory and distribution mechanisms also taking into account the very current discussion regarding general regulatory changes within European football.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 12 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 19 June 2019

Girish Ramchandani, Daniel Plumley, Harry Preston and Rob Wilson

This paper aims to explore at what league size competitive balance reaches its best level through a longitudinal study and by using the English Premier League (EPL) as an example.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore at what league size competitive balance reaches its best level through a longitudinal study and by using the English Premier League (EPL) as an example.

Design/methodology/approach

To test the influence of league size on competitive balance in the EPL, the authors first calculated competitive balance scores for 22 seasons between 1995/96 and 2016/17 under the existing 20 team system. They then calculated a further ten normalised competitive balance scores for each EPL season by adjusting the league size to examine the league size threshold at which competitive balance in each season of the EPL was at its best level.

Findings

The analysis indicates that the current league structure of 20 teams compromises the overall level of competitive balance in the EPL in comparison with a league comprising between 10 and 19 teams. However, the authors cannot pinpoint the precise league size at which the EPL is most competitively balanced, as no significant differences were observed between the competitive balance indices for these league sizes.

Originality/value

The findings of this study have practical relevance for league organisers and the Union of European Football Associations given that they themselves have stated that competitive balance will be a big challenge for the European football industry in the coming years.

Details

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 25 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 March 2013

Robert Wilson, Daniel Plumley and Girish Ramchandani

The purpose of this paper is three‐fold. First, to explore the relationship between the financial and sporting performance of clubs competing in the English Premier League

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is three‐fold. First, to explore the relationship between the financial and sporting performance of clubs competing in the English Premier League (EPL). Second, to investigate the effect of different models of EPL club ownership on financial and league performance. Third, to review the finances of EPL clubs in the context of UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations.

Design/methodology/approach

Financial data from annual reports for the period 2001‐2010 was collected for 20 EPL clubs. Correlation analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between the finances of EPL clubs and their league position. One‐way analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests were then used to examine the effect of ownership type on clubs’ financial and league performances. Where the results of ANOVA testing revealed statistically significant differences between groups, these were investigated further using appropriate post hoc procedures.

Findings

The stock market model of ownership returned better financial health relative to privately owned (domestic and foreign) clubs. However, clubs owned privately by foreign investors or on the stock market performed better in the league in comparison with domestically owned clubs. The stock market model was more likely to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.

Originality/value

The paper confirms empirically that football clubs that float on the stock market are in better financial health and that clubs in pursuit of short‐term sporting excellence are reliant on substantial investment, in this case from foreign investors.

Details

Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-678X

Keywords

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