Emergence of the Transnational Capitalist Class in Sports: Manchester United Football Club (mufc) and the English Premier League (epl)

in Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
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Transnational capitalism has been described as the emerging new stage of capitalism characterized by sharp increases in foreign direct investment, the rise of a global financial system, and increased interlocking of positions within the global corporate structure in many countries and industries. These have been identified as some empirical indicators of the transnational integration of capitalists. This thesis has however rarely been applied to sports probably because it could be considered the antithesis of transnational capitalism. First, sports more than any other form of social activity is associated with nationalism, and second, sport has traditionally been associated with amateurism.

The transformation of Manchester United Football Club (mufc) from a local club to a transnational corporation within the English Premier League (epl) is used as an example of the colonization of sport by the transnational capitalist class (tcc). The study highlights a number of emerging characteristics of transnational capitalism. First, the study points to the emergence of transnational capitalist class (tcc) centers with London and England as one of them. Second, the study also highlights the role of modern technologies of communication and media, and branding in the emergence transnational capitalism.



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  • Average weekly wage in English football’s top division 1961-2010.
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  • World football transfer records, 1893-2013.
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  • Percentage of Manchester United supporters in each continent in 2013.
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  • Manchester United’s outstanding debt since the beginning of Malcolm Glazer’s takeover of the Red Devils (Anders 2013).
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  • Sponsorship deals per year (2000-2021) (United States Securities and Exchange Commission 2012).
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