Globalization and Sport

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Globalization affects many parts of our lives, and the same is true in sport. Sport is truly a global phenomenon, as sport organizations routinely seek to reach consumer markets worldwide.

Some professional leagues in North America schedule games outside the US or Canada as a way to further their base. The National Football League (NFL), for example, started playing games in London in 2007. Interest grew such that, by 2017, the league played four games in London and another in Mexico City.

According to NFL executive Mark Waller, the success of the international games shows the global interest in sports. When the league negotiates a new collective bargaining agreement with players in 2022, many experts expect the league will establish based in the UK.

In addition to reaching new markets, sport organizations are increasingly seeking to attract and retain talented employees and athletes, irrespective of where they were born.

An analysis from the New York Times showed that soccer clubs are likely to be most diverse when it comes to international talent. The Premier League is tops amongst the professional leagues, with over 60 percent of the players coming from outside England and Wales. International players are a mainstay in men’s soccer across Europe and the US.

Though not as diverse as the men’s side, about one in four players in the National Women’s Soccer League are foreign born.

Among men’s professional leagues in North America, Major League Baseball has the most international players, with the largest number coming from the Dominican Republic.

As these examples illustrate, sport managers are increasingly adopting a global view of sport, allowing them to attract new consumers and to draw from a larger pool of talented athletes.