Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Follow The Bouncing Brawl

Are Sports Organizations and Players Doing Their Part In These Tough Economic Times?

In these tough economic times, sports organizations are also feeling the pinch. Fan attendance and corporate sponsorships are down while ticket and concession prices continue to rise. But I dare to ask if these organizations are really doing enough to help themselves and the average fan.

In order to survive, we’ve seen numerous cases of companies both big and small not only cutting budgets, but also cutting employees’ salaries and jobs. Yet, sports organizations’ payrolls as well as player salaries continue to rise. If everyone else is feeling the pinch and making sacrifices, shouldn’t ballplayers too? Is that extra million or two in the grand scheme of things really going to make a difference?

In sports, if a player isn’t producing on the field, they are either benched or demoted. Because their contracts are guaranteed, there’s no fear that their base salaries will be affected. Of course, there may be performance-based incentives in their contracts that could affect them or the possibility of outside endorsements being lost, but generally they are assured that money, and lots of it, will be coming their way. For the average joe, who is making but a fraction of what even a mediocre player makes in any of the four major sports leagues, who works more hours year in and year out, failure to produce means the loss of their job. Ball players have always been held to a higher standard. Why?

Organizations need to stop giving in to agent/player demands and setting new salary precedents each year while then turning around and increasing ticket prices (in some cases close to 50% compared to the year before) to help pay for their new state-of-the-art stadiums. Why not pay a player based on incentive, or at least give them a smaller base salary with lots of incentives thrown in? Give them a reason to play rather than have them phone it in when their team is down by ten runs in the bottom of ninth.

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