Sports Have Became More About Making Money Than Playing Well
Earlier this summer I took my wife and two-year old daughter to a minor league baseball game. In between innings there was a contest on the field involving several contestants racing on bouncy inflatable horses. The song “PONY” by Ginuwine blared over the loud speakers throughout the race. The music continued as the pitcher finished his warm up tosses and the opposing hitter stepped into the batter’s box. With the batter digging in and the pitcher taking signals from the catcher, “PONY” was still blaring. After several seconds of the pitcher just standing out on the rubber, the umpire finally turned around and waved toward the press box to cut the music. I shook my head and thought this kind of thing only happens in the minor leagues, where they’ll do anything to entertain people and keep fans in the seats. A couple weeks later I was listening to a Major League Baseball game on the radio, and the broadcaster stated that everyone on the field was ready to go, they were just waiting on someone to cut the music. I shook my head once again and drew the conclusion that the product on the field is only part of the attraction at a professional sports venue. Then I asked myself, “How much of professional sports is just about money?”
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Players are all about the money.
Players unions have made playing for the love of the game, a thing of the past. I remember my dad always talking about Cal Ripken and how much he respected that he was with the same organization his entire career. That kind of loyalty is hard to find now, mostly because of the players unions wanting players to get as much money as possible. That way, a comparable player can also get a similar salary. If a high-quality impact player takes less money to remain in a city they love playing in, then another player that’s not as good who is also a free agent, will not have the negotiating power because a better player took less than what he is asking for in his new contract. It also seems like players are always more motivated in their walk year, or the last year of their contract.
“When it comes to the effectiveness of sports labor unions, who are the winners and losers depends on which side of the table you're sitting. However, the fans -- the ones fueling the revenue engine in the first place - are the ones who inevitably feel the crunch. When salaries rise, so do ticket prices. When negotiations stall and seasons hang in the balance, the fans are forced to sit and wait.” (Angela Daidone, Investopedia.)
Quality player performance benefits everyone.
Team owners are often more concerned about the bottom line than winning championships. However, if the team fails to put a decent product on the field it will have a substantial impact on that organizations profits. It is rare for bad teams to draw decent crowds. Nobody wants to tune in everyday to watch their favorite team get beat, again. There are a few teams in baseball that have a rich history, and draw well regardless of how the team is doing, but they are the exception.
Even if the team is bad, and a certain player is excelling, it is beneficial. If a statistical milestone is close to being achieved, or a rookie player is having an incredible year, it helps to put fans in the stands. It obviously would help with TV ratings, jersey sales, concessions, and ticket sales, etc.
For the player, quality performance may help land an endorsement deal or a big contract once they hit the free agent market.
The essence of sport is base
True, sports have has an increase on the profits and sponsorship but that ios part of the normal evolution of any activity and it's not alarming, However, we think that those few athletes that gain those huge profits are those athletes that before that have had great sporting results. Those arthletes that have huge contracts have been those with great results during the last decade (such as Tiger Woods or Michael Schucmacher). To think profit comes before results is false.
What's been said is partially true but some points have not been considered. For example, English footballers get paid so much and then they perform appalling in the World Cup; the biggest stage of football. In contrast, one of the best English player's wages summed up to the entire Germany squad's wages. this epitomises my point that football has become more about the money than playing well!!
Furthermore, the English squad automatically become cocky and think they are too good because they have got money. If the English team got paid like the Germany squad did, I know that they would have got further than they did. The justification of this is if you have lower wages, you work harder when you play football. With lower wages, different factors come into consideration. Paying the mortgage! Paying bills! Providing for your family! Buying luxurious items! Increasing your standard of living! Respecting your manager so he pays you more.
Overall, sports in general haven't become more about making money than playing well. However, football definitely is more about making money than playing to your ability!
Need to play well to get the money
While sports may be increasingly about money they still are as much about playing well. Sports fans know what their sport looks like when it is played well and if the level of skill involved in playing was declining they would probably pay less attention and so spend less money on the sport. Money therefore acts as an insentive to keep standards of play as high as possible. It is due to this that we begin to have immense amounts of money going around to buy the best players in many sports.
Sideshows and promotions generate extra revenue.
My wife is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Soccer is the only sport she knows. She could not tell you which bag is first base. However, during the inflatable horse race she gestured for my two-year old daughter to “look at the horsies.” The non-baseball field entertainment, Dippin’ Dots, and a “super cute” pink Charleston Riverdogs hat were enough to make her want to go back. The blaring music at a Major League Baseball game, the giant pretzel, and “The Freeze” mid-inning race could provide the same for a casual baseball fan in Atlanta. The “Stan the Man” bobblehead giveaway at Bush Stadium sold how many more hot dogs, beers, and sodas because fans got there early to be one of the first 20,000 in attendance? In football and basketball, the cheerleaders are the obvious distraction and secondary form of entertainment. Secondary entertainment and promotions may often be the deciding factor in a casual fan deciding whether or not to attend a game. According to The Sports Journal, the positive effects of promotions have led to an overall 14% increase in attendance (McDonald & Rascher, 2000).
Although the “sideshow entertainment” may seemingly carry comparable value to the actual game being played, one may argue that they are necessary because of down time during the game. Especially in baseball. Baseball is taking many initiatives to try to speed the game up, and until they’re able to do so more effectively, Major League Baseball needs all the help they can to keep the fans entertained during the pauses in action.
We love our sports.
Professional sports teams will always be looking to capitalize and earn as much profit as possible throughout the course of the season. There will be sideshows, promotions, cheerleaders, 18-inch hot dogs with fried ice cream, gimmicks, souvenirs, and everything else that comes with attending a pro sporting event. The love that we have for our sports makes all this possible. The better the product on the field, the more opportunity to maximize revenue. For players, the better their performance, the more their worth.
For the Dominican baseball player that trained for a decade prior to signing a pro contract at age 16, and earning a ticket to the USA to play minor league baseball at age 18, it’s about a better life. For the wide receiver who grew up in a rough neighborhood and overcame numerous obstacles to establish himself in the NFL, it’s about taking care of his family. For the child prodigy turned NBA superstar, maybe it’s about his influence on a generation. For owners, it’s about a business venture and appeasing a fan base. As long as we as fans continue to love our sports, there will be dollars to be made. For the coaches, it’s about a championship.
At the foundation, the roots, the origin of everything for these people, I believe…lies passion for a game they love. For most in the sport industry, it may seem that money is often the main motivator, but deep down it’s about the love of the game. At least I’d like to think so.
What do you think?