Professional sport is, in many ways a unique industry. Both the nature of the product and the relationships between component elements of sporting leagues give rise to what, in the literature, is referred to as the 'peculiar' economics of professional sport. The thesis provides a critical analysis of the economic literature on the professional team sport industry. One area which has received particular attention concerns the variety of restrictive controls in the labour market. As they do elsewhere professional sport leagues in Australia adopt a variety of restrictive controls in the labour market. This is done under the justification of ensuring an equal, and therefore healthy, competition which maintains league viability. The thesis examines at both a conceptual and empirical level the rationale for, and effectiveness of, attempts to regulate the labour market in this industry. The empirical analysis allows an assessment of the effectiveness of a specific type of regulatory control, the Australian Football League National Draft.
The analysis of the National Draft follows the Lock and Gratz model (1983). The model measures the extent to which the change in teams' comparative strength can be attributed to draft positions acquired in previous years. In doing so the model draws upon both the recruitment advantage that each team receives through their draft allocations and changes in teams' the relative performance in subsequent years. The model thus provides an indication of the capacity of the National Draft to achieve a greater degree of competitive parity within the league.