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Professional Sports Associations

Professional sports teams in the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are also governed by voluntary associations, but their associations are comprised of individual owners who purchase professional sports franchises and agree to abide by the rules, policies, and procedures established by the league. Also known as the constitution and by-laws, these rules, policies and procedures generally govern the circumstances under which franchises may move their team from one city to another; players may be drafted, sign contracts, become free agents, and receive retirement pensions; and owners, coaches, and players may be fined, suspended, banned, or otherwise punished. The league’s constitution and by-laws may also be influenced by the terms of any collective bargaining agreement entered into between franchise owners and labor representatives for the players’ union and by any applicable antitrust laws (i.e., federal laws that protect trade and commerce from restraints, monopolies, price-fixing, and price discrimination).

Inside Professional Sports Associations