Sport labour migration as a global value chain: the Dominican case
Major League Baseball (MLB) has experienced a dramatic rise in the number of foreign athletes in its ranks. Over the past two decades, the percentage of foreign players on Major League rosters has risen from 2 per cent to 29.2 per cent (see MLB.com, August 12th 2009, for subsequent figures as well). Even more impressive, however, are the number of foreign Minor Leaguers (those playing their way up to the Major Leagues in one of the many Minor Leagues in North America) which, as of 2009, has mushroomed to 47.8 per cent of all players (3,356 of 7,021). The small island nation of the Dominican Republic (DR) dominates this foreign infusion of players. In 2008, 98 Dominicans (11.4 per cent of all players) played on one of the 30 Major League teams. The next closest nation represented in MLB is Venezuela with 52 players. Further underscoring the growing importance of the Dominican Republic: 29 of 30 Major League teams operate new, costly, state-of-the-art player development academies there; and the MLB Commissioner’s Office established its only office outside of the United States in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo.