Originally Posted by improbus
The LeBron move has been happening for years. Shaq did it in the 90's and Kareem did it in the 70's. Moving from a small market to large market is nothing new in basketball (or any other sport for that matter).
It is unfair to compare the NFL and NBA's revenue system because they are very different. The NFL makes all of its money from TV, which they are able to run from the top because they play so many games at TV friendly times. The NBA (and MLB for that matter) have relatively small national TV deals, but they have larger local cable deals. This probably won't change because the big networks aren't going to want to pay for the rights to a Tuesday night Bucks vs. Raptors game. So, revenue sharing is not really possible on the NFL's scale.
BTW, does anyone else find it ironic in an era of attacking big federal government and federal welfare that the NFL, our most nation's most socialist organization, is also its shining model of prosperity? We really are an interesting and bizarre country.
It's not a socialist organization. Let's just stop throwing the word "socialist" out there in a context where it has absolutely no connection. Socialism is purely political in nature and has no real application in a purely business-oriented industry. For the NFL to be socialist, it would have to be a government-run enterprise with management either elected by the populace or appointed by the political regime.
If you want a word that more closely fits the description of the NFL, and other professional sports leagues for that matter, is a cartel. It is a group of like-minded businessmen who individually own businesses in a particular industry who agree to work together for their mutual benefit in order to ensure a stable market for their product. Every sports league is the same. They have rules that limit who may enter the league and where they may place their reams. They set a joint schedule for competition and decide the rules that govern the competition the field. They limit how, when and where teams can solicit players to play for their teams. In fact, sports teams are not even considered independent businesses, but rather "franchises" granted by the league, subject to approval by other owners. It's similar to the way industries like oil, gas, and railroads were run before the passage of the Sherman Anti-Trust act and it is the reason why sports leagues have limited anti-trust exemptions necessary to conduct business.
If you look at leagues as cartels, the spectrum you judge leagues by would be strong v. weak cartel. And one end you would have a strong cartel with a high-degree of cooperation between owners. The other end of the spectrum would be an open market structure, where anyone with enough cash and a place to do business could start up a team, solicit players from anywhere, including players already under contract from other teams, and could set their own schedules based on who they think would bring in the most cash. This style of business environment would likely result in players jumping teams on a regular basis and owners being able to start an new team or move an existing team into any geographic market they saw fit. In fact, this open-market style sports league would probably best describe MLB under the National Association era and earlier, before the advent of the National League in 1876, or pro football before 1921 when a group of like-minded owners got together in Canton, OH to from what would become the NFL.
Because we look at sports as "competition" between teams, it's easy to lose site of the fact that no professional sports franchise truly in competition with the other franchises its league, but rather, each league is in competition with other forms of entertainment for the discretionary income of potential customers.
A socialist sports league would be something akin to the professional sports leagues of the Soviet Union, where teams were underwritten by trade unions and branches of the government rather than wealthy businessmen.