March 04, 2011
Athletic Sorts of Industrial Policy
Posted by David Zaring

It's not the newst debate in the world, but Brian Phillips over at Slate muses on competitive environments in the absence of regulation.  Only he's talking about soccer, the international mechanism for much of the propagation of much of the case for the importance of corporate law.  As Phillips observes, and as you probably know, "[t]he old joke about soccer and American sports is that mild, single-payer Europe somehow gave birth to ruthlessly capitalist sports leagues, while laissez-faire America coughed up socialist ones."  So in Europe, the two to four best teams always win, brilliantly, while in America, if you happened to fall for the Oakland Raiders when you were six, you must embrace mediocrity nine years out of every ten.

Sports might be an example of the trivialty of corporate regulation.  In the United States, sports keiretsu work for millions of fans, in Europe the opposite appears to work just as well.  But I assume that false consciousness enthusiasts make note that the European game exemplifies the unfairness of life, while the American one exalts any given Sunday.  For the purposes of this blog, the interesting thing is that the corporate law of American sports is completely unintesting, while who owns European teams, and what sort of debt v. equity structure they have put in place is something of a foreign obsession.  So if the corporate form doesn't really matter - we'll all go cheer for somebody - in some jurisdictions, it's a sporting question, while in others it's not.

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