The Privatisation of African Football

Presented by
Seminar Date
March 3, 2010
Attached is a PDF of a chapter and epilogue (with endnotes) from Peter Alegi's new book. The PDF is from pre-publication proofs and should not be circulated outside the seminar (it will be removed after March 3). If you are interested in the book please contact Peter Alegi or visit the web sites of the US publisher (Ohio UP) and/or Christopher Hurst (Europe/Africa).
As the accelerating movement of leading African players to Europe illustrates, world football became increasingly commercialized, and globalized, during the 1990s. The advent of professional football in Britain in the 1880s and in continental Europe between the wars underscored the game’s economic implications from its earliest days. But even in the consumer society of postwar Europe, commercialization of football remained quite limited. Only in the 1980s did Western European clubs move decisively toward maximizing revenues and turning themselves into brands. Stadium advertising expanded, corporate logos adorned team uniforms, and ticket prices rose dramatically. Rising costs, partly due to players’ wages, kept profits down until the epochal changes of the 1990s, when “football was transformed into a booming post-industrial service sector awash with money and hubris.” Television deregulation and the rise of new global communication technologies triggered this revolution.
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