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Reviewed by:
  • Sports Capitalism: The Foreign Business of American Professional Leagues
  • Louis P. Cain
Frank P. Jozsa, Jr.Sports Capitalism: The Foreign Business of American Professional Leagues. Aldershot, Hants, U.K., and Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2004. xiv + 316 pp. ISBN 0-7546-4185-6, $99.95 (cloth).

Students of international business will find this a useful and frustrating book. It is encyclopedic in its coverage and exhaustively [End Page 552] researched. Approximately 20 percent of the book's 316 pages consists of notes, while another 10 percent is bibliography. The book is intended for nonspecialists; a glossary includes terms as diverse as economic profit, Hall of Fame, Super Bowl, and work ethic. Of these, only 'Super Bowl' appears in the extremely short, five-and-a-half page index. Jozsa's role has been to organize this material and bring it together in one place. There are few original hypotheses.

The five core chapters present what Jozsa considers to be the international involvements of the five major American sports leagues: Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the Major League Soccer (MLS): "Sports Capitalism . . . essentially identifies and focuses on each of the league's short- and/or long-term transnational strategies, which are composed of the activities, alliances, events, experiences, investments, relationships, risks and ventures that have extended the organization's sport brand and image, and increased its recognition and reputation across the globe" (p. 2). Jozsa introduces each of these chapters with a detailed discussion of what he is going to do and concludes with an even more detailed discussion of what he has done. Roughly half of the introductory chapter and almost all the concluding chapter are devoted to the same tasks.

Each chapter is organized in a similar fashion, presenting information on such topics as what each league is doing in terms of marketing its game internationally and recruiting foreign athletes and the current state of that sport outside the United States. History is present, but it does not play an important role. Jozsa makes little attempt at synthesis; every now and then (for example, a few pages in the introduction, the final eight paragraphs of the conclusion, and randomly in the middle), he points to parallels between leagues.

Jozsa also provides little analysis, and there are problems with some of his explanations. For example, Rafael Palmeiro is identified as a "veteran Cuban player" who will one day be inducted in baseball's Hall of Fame in "Cooperstown, Pennsylvania" (p. 38). While it is true that Palmeiro was born in Cuba, it is also true that he played college baseball at Mississippi State and was drafted into the major leagues in the same manner as his teammates, Will Clark and Bobby Thigpen. Jozsa's discussion of football omits American Samoa, which has become an important source of American collegiate players; Samoans in the NFL only appear in the appendix tables. Similarly, the author's discussion of the NBA does not take note of the [End Page 553] increasing number of foreign basketball players recruited to play college basketball in the United States. And there is reason to think that the expansion of amateur soccer programs in the United States was well underway when the MLS was created; the MLS did not cause the expansion (p. 179).

Canada presents a particular problem for Jozsa, which he construes to be foreign for the most part. The National Hockey League was entirely a Canadian operation from its founding in 1917 until the Boston Bruins joined the league seven years later. While he includes a brief description of the league's founding, Jozsa relies on recent events, not history, to make his points. Unlike baseball or basketball, the NHL has many years of experience with some of the problems that, say, baseball has encountered more recently. And baseball has had a long history in Canada through its farm teams—Jackie Robinson, for example, played for Montreal before he joined the Dodgers. One of the main weaknesses of Jozsa's book is that there is little historical perspective, which might have been invaluable in looking at Canada. Could...


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