Professional Baseball—Can You Join the League? Lesson for Grades 9-12

In this active learning lesson, students apply economic concepts to a professional baseball league. The lesson underscores the importance of incentives, control of supply, and potential market inefficiencies resulting from a cartel. Students assume one of two roles: either (i) a member of a team owner group trying to get its team into the Professional Baseball League or (ii) a member of the Professional Baseball League Expansion Committee deciding whether new teams are admitted.

Objectives of this Lesson:

Students will be able to

  • recognize competition and incentives in professional sports,
  • describe a cartel,
  • describe a monopoly,
  • explain how professional leagues exhibit behaviors of a cartel and a monopoly, and
  • interpret the interdependent relationship between a professional sports league and the individual teams in that league.

Compelling Question:

How does economic competition affect professional sports leagues and teams?

This lesson plan is designed for teaching grades 9, 10, 11, and 12.



This lesson received the 2019 Curriculum Gold Award of Excellence from the National Association of Economic Educators.
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Education Level: 9-12
Subjects: AP Economics Economics
Concepts: Market Structure
Resource Types: Lesson PowerPoint
Languages: English
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