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What drives modern athletics?

POSTED: May 3, 2014 9:00 a.m.

The spirit of competition. The will to win. The glory of accomplishment.

None of these things matter in modern professional athletics.

The driving force behind modern sports is money, and if that doesn’t concern you...you’re probably an owner.

Whether we’re looking at the next big shoe deal or some tenuously connected endorsement project, it’s no secret that athletes are commercial commodities these days.

I suppose it’s not so bad that they want to make money for what they do, I’m okay with that.

What bothers me, though, is when important decisions are made solely for the benefit of squeezing one more dollar out of an already dead cow.

Or horse. Pick your metaphor.

The worst offender, of course, is anything that benefits from television scheduling. Look at the NBA playoffs, for instance.

Not long ago, TNT made a big deal about having 40 days of playoff action. I get that these games are a big deal and that people want to watch them, but it seems a bit excessive that these tournaments last a month and a half or so.

Why do they do that? Because they want as many games as possible in prime time television.

Sure, they could follow baseball’s model of playing quickly, which is probably based more on weather than any sort of purity in sport, but they don’t. They drag it out as long as they can.

Why do you think the NCAA March Madness tournament keeps getting bigger and bigger?

They want that sweet television money.

Who knows. Maybe I’m being cynical. After all, when was the last time a major financial player in professional sports made a poor decision?

 

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