Friday, October 28, 2011

My Beef with Professional Sports

For anyone that knew me growing up, they would be shocked at me for making the following statement: I do not follow professional sports in any way shape or form. Perhaps my frugal ways have shone a gigantic spotlight on what is my fundamental beef with professional sports. Let’s say for example that I wanted to take my wife to a Chicago Bears game in a couple weeks to see the San Diego Chargers, a team I was a fan of growing up in Los Angeles. The cheapest tickets currently available via Ticketmaster at face value would cost us $161.08 just to get into the stadium. From there you can make your own deductions about food prices, souvenirs and the like. But $161.08 just to get into the stadium, and this is at the cheap end! Seating capacity at Soldier Field is 100,000 people. So being EXTREMELY conservative at $80.54 a person, filling a stadium for each game brings in ticket revenue of $8,054,000 per game, 8 times over and you generate $64,432,000 just in ticket sales.

Now I’ll bang on this drum again, I am not against people or companies making money. But the cost of nearly $200 just to get my foot in the door can go so much further than a three hour game. Invested in a good mutual fund averaging 12% annually, in 30 years that $161.08 WITHOUT ADDING ANOTHER PENNY TO IT would be worth $5,793.45… so I hope you enjoyed your game!

If I couldn’t be irked any further, is the idea that players’ unions exist. Now as a (partial) objectivist, while I vehemently take a firm stance against unions and see them as an obstacle to running successful businesses, I understand their goals and concerns, I just think they go about it in an entirely wrong and inefficient manner. To me unions were created with the intention to provide safe and humane working conditions for low income employees. Not to redistribute wealth. Now my cynical self would come back to say that if employees were not treated well or in unsafe working conditions or feel that they are not getting paid their worth, then hit the employer where they hurt and quit. Deliver pizzas, wash dishes in a restaurant, sort merchandise for a big box retailer, essentially: think for yourself and pursue a field/industry/job and fight, scratch and claw so that you happen to success. Without valued able bodied employees the employer will crash and burn. It is in a companies’ best interest to treat their employees as they do their clients: with respect.

Where is this all going? To the fact that even with the best of intentions, I do not feel that unions were created for people that are required to have a six figure minimum income. According to the most recent minimum salary is the nba was at $473,604 for rookies and $1,352,181 for a veteran. The average player salary, only a modest $5.15 million annually. Which brings me to the current nba lockout. Players feel that the owners are being unfair in redistributing wealth. I find this to be ludicrous and absolutely outrageous. With 29 nba teams, (12 players to a team) 348 players, players earning an average of $5.15 million a season, this means that annually nba players as a whole generate an average annual income collectively of $1,792,200,000

If these wasteful jerks would efficiently combine their resources and efforts, and truly felt that nba owners were stealing money from them, $1 billion dollars should be more than enough as a starting point to start your own league where you can play by your own rules. Professional athletes are blessed to have a large income shovel for a short period of time in their lives. Yes, it is a hard and tough uphill climb for Wal-Mart employees to band together and open a competing store. But professional athletes have absolutely no excuse. More is provided to them and if they would think for themselves and work for their own self interest they could put together a quality product at a reasonable price. And that is my beef with professional sports.

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