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In sports, parity is when participating teams have roughly equivalent levels of talent. In such a league, the "best" team is not significantly better than the "worst" team. This leads to more competitive contests where the winner cannot be easily predicted in advance. The opposite condition, which could be considered "disparity" between teams, is a condition where the elite teams are so much more talented that the lesser teams are hopelessly outmatched.
Different major governing organizations attempt to achieve parity in different ways. For example, the National Football League (NFL) in the U.S. has established the shared revenue plan, in which all teams equally benefit from television revenue and sales of NFL franchised goods.
Many consider the NFL to be the most "fair" or competitive league, with many different teams having a chance to win each year. In the NFL, complete parity would be a state where on any given Sunday, any given team can win any given game. The illusion of parity in the NFL may be somewhat of a misconception, given that several teams such as the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Green Bay Packers have appeared in the playoffs in almost all of the past ten years, while a team such as the Cleveland Browns has a playoff drought that is currently over a decade long. The most important thing to remember is that a franchise can be struggling and the reason for it can be due to the team's ineptitude when it comes evaluating talent, coaching strategies, developing players, having a good organizational structure, and overall team and player operations.
An example of disparity in sports is Portuguese Liga, the top-flight professional football (soccer) league in Portugal, where three clubs have accounted for 75 of the 77 championships in league history.
Salary cap limits set a maximum amount of money that may be spent on athletes' contracts. These limits exist to different extents in several other leagues as well. For example, Major League Baseball (MLB) in the U.S. does not have a cap, but charges a luxury tax beyond a certain level.
Another example of disparity would be demonstrated by the NBA from the 2014–15 NBA season to the 2017–18 NBA season, where the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have been the only franchises to reach the NBA Finals during that specific time span and during the 2017 NBA finals and the 2018 NBA finals the Golden State Warriors won 8 out of the possible 9 finals games.