The Price of Pro Sports

What future for pro sports in this country?
By Larry Laird | lairdslair
Pro sports

I'm wondering about the future of pro sports in this country. It's obvious to say that it's big business today and getting bigger all the time. New stadiums, arenas and ball parks are popping up every year. Player salaries continue to climb astronomically. Ticket prices are more than the average person can handle, except occasionally, and then taking the family to a game costs about the same as a decent week long vacation!
People continue to fill most arenas and ballparks though, paying $8 for a hotdog or a beer, and $7.50 for a soft drink, $20 to park their car after shelling out $60 to $100 for each admission. But people are willing to pay it for the privilege of being there.

I am a fan of professional sports, and I follow my favorites like the majority of Americans, but I cannot justify the expense of attending many games. Baseball is the only pro sport that a fan can reasonably attend a few games without dropping a wad. Football and basketball will break the bank. How long will the prices escalate? At what point will admissions drive the loyal away?

Perhaps there will come a time when teams won't even play in front of live audiences at all and all games will be pay per view on television. If you could no longer afford to attend a contest in person, would you pay a lesser amount to watch it on TV? Or will people just stop caring about the pros? I see some indication that this is happening right now with pro basketball. Probably a combination of high ticket prices, the player's juvenile behavior, the weakening of the talent pool due to over expansion and the fact that after playing a long season, nearly ever team makes the play-offs and we do it all over again!

Professional sports is, of course, a business, and like any business, needs to profit. Like a company, there is competition. The real competition is not on the field anymore, however, it's at the gate. Sure, a successful team on the field should draw more fans, but given the mediocrity of some of the teams, this is not always necessary for success at the turnstiles. Some teams are starting to fail at the gates. I guess folks just stop caring, the focus is gone.

I've followed the Cleveland Browns for most of my life and I suppose I was excited about the return of a team in Cleveland. I wondered how I'd really feel when the "new" Browns took the field after seeing what the city of Cleveland had to go through to bring a team back. Team cities are expected to support their teams like a social program!  Well, it's been 15 years now since the new Browns debuted in the city of Cleveland. The city has embraced them just as they did their old team, the current Baltimore Ravens.  The big difference is that the old team actually won a lot of games and gave the fans at least some of the their moneys worth. The new iteration not so much.

Maybe the whole thing will just fall apart some day. Maybe people will just get fed up with the whole thing. I know I'm pretty fed up the NFL in general. I find that I have little interest in the upcoming Super Bowl. Perhaps, the games will change to accommodate what ever it takes to get those fans through the gates. I'd say this is already taking place. So, maybe we're not too far away from "Rollerball".

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