Pro sports is booming. Franchise values are way up. But every major American pro sports league has a sore spot that threatens its future.
The National Football League is rife with life-shortening injuries and performance-enhancing drugs. The two are related. Juiced players are bigger and faster—not unusual are 260-pound pass rushers who run a 4.6-second 40yard dash—and collide with the force of crashing cars. Pro basketball has too many games—82 in a regular season, which means more than 100 for those teams making the fnals. How long before game seven of the NBA fnals is played on the Fourth of July?
Major League Baseball ofers scant appeal to Millennials. AfricanAmerican participation is way of. A game designed for two hours often stretches past three. And in professional hockey you can often injure the other team’s star player with little consequence.
Then there’s the gambling. The NFL and NBA embrace such sites as Draft Kings and Fan Duel as tickets to a rich future. Put aside the questionable legality of fan gambling—why is this legal and not online poker?—it won’t be a salvation. This is what will happen: Fans will lose interest in buying tickets to live games.
Another scourge of all major sports: horrible owners who become entrenched. Two great NBA franchises are great no more—the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers. They are laughingstocks. The owners of both are incompetent to their core. How odd that the two largest cities in the U.S. should have two of the worst NBA teams.
Ex-microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer surveyed the wreck of the L.A. Lakers and stepped in last year to buy the previously worst-owned NBA franchise, the L.A. Clippers. The $2 billion price Ballmer paid was a bargain. The Clippers quickly became L.A.’S “it” team. And the Lakers have been reduced to a Schadenfreude outlet store.
lessons from the worst
If the rock-bottom, worst-ever owner in pro sports used to be Donald Sterling of the L.A. Clippers, the losers now hail from football. Dan Snyder’s Washington Redskins have become a punch line. We all have our opinions on whether Native Americans should be co-opted into pro sports team names. The University of Illinois Fighting Illini and the Florida State Seminoles are deemed dignifed presentations, so they live on. The University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux, however, are no more. This only shows that good people can make diferent choices. But “Redskins”?