April 20, 2011
What Kind of Market is the Best Kind of Market (in Soccer)?
Posted by David Zaring

For the very few of our readers interested in European football, I'd like to annoyedly note that there were two big games on yesterday, one part of the strange fortnight four tie series to rule the world between Real Madrid and Barcelona, and the other between two great English Premier League teams - Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal - seeking to hold their places at the almost-top-of-the-English-table.  I took both of them in (in the background, while reading books on the Food and Drug Administration, I assure you).  What you need to know is that the games suggested - though this will be desolation for certain members of the Volokh Conspiracy - that national champion firms produce much more turgidly than do well-resourced firms in a competitive environment.

Just like the first of the magic fotnight games between Real and Barca, the Copa del Rey final was pretty bad.  Partly this was because the first half consisted mostly of players surrounding the referee at every opportunity to plead for free kicks and yellow cards.  But that's soccer, the game of life, and when life leads guaranteed winners onto the main stage to take on other guaranteed winners, well, that's when the two sides tend to call a truce when they can't fix the result (by, say, working the ref).  Meanwhile, the six goals scored in the Spurs-Arsenal tie (they tied), made me wish that the rest of the world of soccer would become a bit more English, where firm/teams actually compete, and working the ref doesn't really work.

Not that the Spanish teams really care.  They're so heavily subsidized that they can beat anyone, really.  Even plucky English teams.  More's the pity, but the next time you hear a law professor praising anything about Spanish soccer, I hope you'll think about those old saws about how rooting for the New York Yankees is like rooting for US Steel.  Which it is, only more so, in the unfair game of life that is club soccer in Spain. 

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