Sports in Society: Issues & Controversies. Chapter 11 Sports and the Economy: What Are the Characteristics of Commercial Sports?. Conditions for Emergence & Growth of Commercial Sports. A market economy Large, densely populated cities
Sports and the Economy:
What Are the Characteristics
of Commercial Sports?
The preferences and priorities of people with power and wealth often influence which sports are commercialized – for example:
Figure 11.1 CEOs and owners often play games that ignore athletes
-Corporate branding is now accepted by many people as necessary, non-political, even “natural”
Question: Isn’t that sure sign of outposts in action?
Changes may occur in the:
Rule changes are made to make action more exciting, understandable, and profitable by
GOAL: Total Entertainment Experience
Why did the XFL fail? Too much commercialization, or not the right kind?
Commercial sports are ENTERTAINMENT
Aesthetic the right kind?
Beauty and pleasure of movement
Emphasis on mastery of technical skills
Willingness to explore limits
Commitment to staying involved
Danger & excitement of movement
Emphasis on style & dramatic expression
Willingness to go beyond limits
Commitment to success of sponsorCommercial Sports Involve A Shift From Aesthetic to Heroic Orientations
Shifting orientations: what happens when there is a need to entertain a mass audience
When the diversity of professional sports is taken into consideration:
This looks extreme, but hasn’t it already happened? entertain a mass audience
Team owners in the major men’s pro sports have established monopolies enabling them to:
Figure 11.5 entertain a mass audience
New stadiums resemble shopping malls.
Professional athletes in the major men’s spectator sports did not earn exceptionally high salaries until after 1976 when they could become “free agents” and sell their skills to the highest bidding team. In 1950 an average NBA player was only slightly more than the median U.S. family income; in 2004 it was 84 times higher than the median US family income! At the same time, the average salary of a WNBA player was nearly two thousand dollars lower than the median family income.
Athletes salaries don’t affect ticket prices; owners charge whatever people will pay for tickets regardless of what they pay athletes.
“I make $20 million a year, and I don’t feel guilty!”
Tickets for NFL and Notre Dame games cost the same, but college players make a fraction of what the NFL players make