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Baseball as a Domestic Monopoly: Developing Power

Baseball as a Domestic Monopoly: Developing Power

(p.36) Second Base Baseball as a Domestic Monopoly: Developing Power
Smart Ball
Robert F. Lewis
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter traces the business history of Major League Baseball (MLB), showing it to be both a positive complement and a negative contradiction to its role as a sport. The chapter tackles both the marketing side (consumption) and the production side of the business (labor/player) of MLB. It discusses, for example, the monopoly status that enabled MLB teams to control their labor until the 1970s through a “reserve clause” and to “own” their local markets continuously through territorial exclusivity. One aspect that plays a major role in MLB’s success is the way in which it balances its commercial and cultural elements. However, the long term effect of securing early market dominance and having legal monopoly status is that MLB’s business progression has been hampered. This chapter thus also looks at the myths purported by baseball, namely how it was linked to American moral values even during its early history, and how it is the exploitation of these values that has enabled baseball to maintain its significance in popular culture.

Keywords:   business history, marketing side, production, monopoly status, reserve clause, market dominance, business progression, American moral values, popular culture

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