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Political Economy and Team Ownership: A Collective Case Study of the National Football League and Its Ownership Groups
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This dissertation examined the character and social structure of team ownership groups in the National Football League (NFL) and how they shape the function of the NFL and/as a broader political economy. Drawing from bricolage as a form of research, the collective case study design (Stake, 2005) was employed to investigate the NFL and its ownership groups to better understand the political economy which shapes – and is shaped by – the NFL. Analyzing a variety of content from sources including the NFL, official team websites, news articles, legal cases, media interviews, online databases, and empirical social science, data were coded into themes and discussed in terms of NFL owners as a collective unit. As empowered through the structure of the NFL, ownership themes included the following: (a) overrepresentation of elite white men, (b) intergenerational transfer of wealth, (c) nepotism, (d) inter-institutional representation, (e) political and economic network, and (f) philanthropy. The interrelation of these themes points to the centrality of NFL ownership within a broader political and economic network that (re)produces the politics of elite-white-male dominance in the United States (see Feagin & Ducey, 2017). Implications for sport management research and practice are discussed.
elite white men
character and social structure
Weems, Anthony Jean (2019). Political Economy and Team Ownership: A Collective Case Study of the National Football League and Its Ownership Groups. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from