T Nation

Sports Economics?

For sometime now, I’ve felt that the salaries paid to Pro Athletes in some sports had gotten out of hand. The players, agents and Unions always justified it by saying “whatever the “market” will bear”. Right…


Well…it seems like at least in one sport (Pro Baseball), the “market” isn’t “bearing” it. Selig stated that close to 10 teams are only surviving because of loans from the league, which will soon end. They will most likely fold. So, the questions:


1)What are they gonna do; have Atlanta playing the New York and LA teams? (I’m being facetious, but you get my drift…)


2)I AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT PLAYER SALARIES IS THE WHOLE PROBLEM, but are Pro Sports somehow “different” from other businesses, in that they can let employee salaries and bonuses get out of control and still survive? (For most businesses, employee expenses make up the majority of their overhead and is where they make the most significant cuts when they have to).


I’m not Pollyanna, guys…but 50, 80, 120, 250 million FOR ONE GUY? They CAN’T be surprised by their predicament, can they?


3)Is baseball only the “tip of the proverbial iceberg”?


Your thoughts?

I agree that salaries, especially in baseball, are getting out of hand, but the owners are willing to pay the players this much, so in that regard (supply and demand I guess) the high salaries in pro sports are valid. Player x commands y dollars because, in the managements eyes, he is worth it, in terms of ticket sales, marketing, merchandising etc. In baseball however, a sport with no salary cap, this gets out of hand as small market teams have no chance of competing with the larger franchises. I guess its just business really, but oh, my poor Expos!

the law of sports are different that any other industry. in sports the palyers are the workers AND THE PRODUCTS. as oposed to in maufacturing where labor is labor and product is product.therefore if the players strike the owners lose both the labor and the product with no way to replace either of them. this creates an enormous amount of power for the mlbpa. i dont no if i beleave all the numbers bud selig says are facts b/c he has his own ajenda as do all the owners.

The loans from the League are justified to some degree seeing as MLB benfits from the sale of all licensed apparel, etc. So if Montreal doesn’t have Vlad Guerrero, how many Expos hats, Jerseys and T-Shirts would they sell? Obviously the league benefits to some degree from providing smaller market teams with financial assistance.

So, is Selig justified in pulling that money? Well he’s governed by the owners and the owners don’t want to shell out their profit to other teams, but it’s the Steinbrenner’s of the league that are driving salaries through the roof and making it impossible to compete. So it’s becoming an elitist group of larger market teams that are slowly pushing the smaller market teams out.

What’s the solution? Lower salaries? Give small market teams more money to “buy” better players? Who cares! To me, much like Bodybuilding, Baseball is dead. Montreal should lose their franchise. Do you think anyone would care? If they did, they would support the team! Same with Minnesota. I’m in Toronto and if the Jays left next season, I couldn’t say I’d really be all that upset. Back in '92-'93 I would have been, but after the strike MLB lost us Canadians. Go Leafs Go!

I agree with everything big rob said. But NHL hockey is not far behind Major league baseball. It too will die. It’s hard to blame the players, it’s the whole system that’s fucked up. Tickets for many pro sports games are now priced out of reach for the regular person. The owners want the corporate dollars and cater to these people with large boxes and suites.The majority of regular, good seats are also held by corporate seasons tickets. The days of taking your family to a pro sports game on a Sunday afternoon are dying fast. The owners are pulling in large cash and the players rightfully wan’t there share. I refuse to pay to see any pro sports ( except CFL football) and could care less if it dies. I enjoy going to amateur or college sporting events more than pro events, and I don’t have to break the bank to do so.

The salaries are ridiculous. I think they need to start over.