Why would anyone spend their hard-earned money or free time watching grown men play games that are usually played by children?
What it mostly comes down to is the persistent desire to be entertained and the extensive loyalty fans have to their teams. Football, basketball, baseball and hockey are the four “major” sports in the United States and, for a brief period in late October, we were lucky enough to have all four going on at once. This sports eclipse came and went as the 2021 MLB season concluded last week, with the Atlanta Braves winning the World Series.
One of the things that I love most about professional sports is the tradition. I was born into a family that roots for the New York Yankees and New York Giants, and watching their games is more than just watching strangers run around. It’s about unconditionally rooting for the logo that represents our geographical area, no matter who wears the uniform. The countless memories I have from watching these two teams play every single season will only continue to grow and be passed on to my children one day.
There is, however, a significant difference between fans who are loyal to one team and fans who root for whatever team is succeeding at the time, also known as “bandwagon fans.” The difference is that those who endure the long, arduous, and sometimes miserable, years of losing can make enjoying the winning years so much more. Being a Giants fan, I know this feeling too well. The quality of happiness from your life-long team winning a championship is unparalleled to that of band-wagon fans’ teams winning it all.
One of the more comforting aspects of rooting for a team is how fan bases act like really big families. They’re all in support of the same goal, regardless of their contrasting viewpoints on life outside of football. This is apparent when actually attending professional sports games.
Most stadiums/arenas are located in cities, often surrounded by restaurants and bars packed with loyal fans all wearing the same colors. The atmosphere of a filled stadium for an important game cannot be found anywhere else on earth. In Europe, it’s soccer that creates this kind of passion, but in America, all four of our major sports can produce such unforgettable moments.
These leagues, especially the NFL, are absolute monster money-makers for so many different people and industries, which is always good for national and local economies. Just like any business, the more your product sells, the more profits can be made. Anyone wondering why players earn nine-figure contracts should look at how much the TV deals, merchandise and ticket sales are worth. These players put their physical and mental health on the line to earn pennies compared to what the owners and leagues make off of their hazardous hard work.
These leagues have been constantly growing for decades now and they’re always adding new revenue streams.
A few years ago, the NBA put advertisements on their uniforms, which likely contributes to the regular yearly increase in player and coach salaries. All of the leagues now offer some type of TV package that allows fans to pay yearly subscriptions to have access to every single game, not just the ones that are locally televised.
This is a game-changer that allows teams to expand fan bases outside of their area. This high level of accessibility pairs well with the new, thriving industry of sports betting. It’s currently legal in 29 states and its revenue grows rapidly each season. Betting makes the game more fun for those into it and helps bring more fans to watch the games, all while not affecting people who don’t like to gamble. This is just another reason that professional sports leagues in America will continue to thrive and get even bigger.
For me and so many others, professional sports is a constant opportunity to be entertained, have something to talk about and debate with friends. A world without pro sports would be bleak and desperately missing those magical moments where you jump out of your seat to root on your team.
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