Sporting Capital: Dissecting the Political Economy of the National Football League
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The popularity and economic strength of professional football is unsurpassed among other sports in the U.S. due in part to the ascendency of television as the most popular form of mass media. Though aided by the popularity of that medium, the National Football League's success is also tied to governmental favors, monopolistic practices, nonprofit tax status, complicated subsidiary structure and other factors forming a beneficial economic context. The structure of the league and its business ventures reflect the nature of these arrangements, all of which are borne out of the commodification of the game. This study examines the nature and structure of the political economy of the NFL. In particular, it focuses on the relationships among the NFL (including individual teams and subsidiary businesses), the government, and the media. Employing a political economic analysis of the policy and business agreements among these agents will further elaborate the structural dimensions of the NFL as well as the implications for other sports and media in the culture industries.