Hegemonies in US Sports, a Strange Phenomenon?

The professional leagues of this country, widely recognized worldwide, are very solid economically but also have a rare peculiarity in profitable activity: there are no hegemonies in US sport recently.

The Patriots, Red Sox and Giants, and Lakers logos on the United States flag.

It is the king of sports in the American giant saw its audience drop by 8% in the 2020 season, largely due to the pandemic. Despite this, his leadership of the preference did not waver in the least. Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: Las hegemonías en el deporte de EEUU ¿un extraño fenómeno?

The United States establishes the world economic order and that also carries over to sports, that is why its professional leagues, the NFL for American football, the MLB for baseball and the NBA for basketball, represent an international standard for the sports world.

The penetration of these competitions in different international markets has made television contracts, for example, increasingly lucrative, as well as franchise revenues, which in most cases grow year after year, and, most importantly, without the need for these teams to impose a hegemony of titles as it usually happens in soccer in Europe and South America.

The NFL: money breeds parity

It is the king of sports in the US that saw its audience drop by 8% in the 2020 season, largely due to the pandemic. Despite this, his leadership of the preference did not waver in the least.

The NFL is made up of 32 teams and its postseason, unlike the NBA and MLB, is played in a single game in each phase due to the physical demands of this discipline. This implies that there is a greater probability for the theoretically weaker team of eliminating the favorite. In fact, it happens in every year on at least one occasion.

The total turnover of the competition reached 13,150 million dollars, according to the Expansión media, which adds that in the last 10 years, global economic growth has been 85%, which causes a better redistribution between teams.

The closest to hegemony in this century are the New England Patriots, the only ones to repeat a title in 2004 and 2005, but who also won the Super Bowl in 2002, 2015, 2017 and 2019 for a total of six crowns. As if that were not enough, they were finalists in the 2008, 2012 and 2018 editions. Nine Vince Lombardi disputes in 20 years, not bad.

If we look back, so far this century, the other champions have been the New York Giants, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers with two, while eight other teams have been crowned once. Higher parity impossible.

Also read: NBA: These Are The Basketball Players With The Highest Earnings Of 2021

MLB of a changing nature

The baseball league escorts the NFL in economic terms, this after the last report in which the 30 teams added total revenues of 9,027 million dollars. The explanation is basically the same as why there have been no hegemonies in this century.

In these 21 years, the Boston Red Sox have been the most winners, but they have not been able to string together consecutive titles. Their most recent accolade was in 2018 when they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series in six games. That year they obtained 108 victories in the regular round, protected by a high payroll with a core of players who were in their prime.

Recently, the Atlanta Braves were crowned for the first time in 26 years; in 2020 it was the Dodgers; and previous single file Washington Nationals (2019), Red Sox (2018), Houston Astros (2017), Cubs (2016), Kansas City Royals (2015), San Francisco Giants (2014), eight years in a row of different teams. The last to do so were the Yankees in 1998, 99 and 2000. Seven other franchise apart from those mentioned have been crowned in this century.

NBA: Brief hegemonies

The NBA has moved better than the MLB in terms of television, since its contracts with national networks suppose annual revenues of 2,600 million until 2024, higher than the 1,500 million that from 2014 and until 2021 will obtain the competition directed by Rob Manfred. Thanks to that, America's third-largest league is not far from catching up to or surpassing the second.

A turnover that grew by 59.27%, according to Expansión, allowed several teams with less history to increase their economic assets and work to have competitive teams in medium terms of 3 to 5 years. An example of this is the Golden State Warriors, one of the hegemonies of this century.

If there is a sport in which it is difficult to see surprises, it is basketball due to the weight of the team work and the rebounds. Therefore, hegemonies should be the order of the day, and they have been in other times, much more than now.

So far in the 21st century, the Los Angeles Lakers have been the most dominant team with six accolades, including the 2000, 2001 and 2002 treble, plus 2009, 2010 and 2020. The San Antonio Spurs has four (2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014), and with three Warriors (2015, 2017 and 2018 and five finals in a row) and Miami Heat (2006, 2012 and 2013).

Five other teams were crowned at one time in this period, as you can see, the NBA is the league where consecutive champions have been seen, but all far from that unforgettable Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan, who won six titles in eight years in the nineties.