Commercialization of Sports
The commercialization of sports is that aspect of the sports enterprise that involves the sale, display, or use of sport or some aspect of sport to produce income. Sports is a big industry that has grown rapidly over the last three decades and may be the epitome of commercialization, because its influence is seen everywhere. There is big involvement of commercial houses in the support and uplift of the sports they endorse. Athletes, support personnel (managers, coaches, officials, media persons, lawyers, and agents), and sports team owners benefit handsomely from the willingness of sports fans to pay to watch their favorite sports and to purchase the commodities endorsed by sports personalities. Hundreds of professional athletes earn well over 1 million a year.
The mass media has been closely associated with the commercialization of sports. They exist in a symbiotic relationship with sports, each benefiting greatly from the other. Sports employ all forms of the mass media. Television has altered individual sports in the effort to accommodate larger viewing audiences. In tennis, the rules regarding play-offs have been changed to allow matches to fit into prescribed schedules. The scheduling of events in the Olympic Games has been modified not to provide athletes with the optimum conditions for peak athletic performances, but to allow large audiences across the world to view events at more convenient times.
While there has been some good, the uglier side to commercialization has given a major blow to the magical words, “playing for the glory of sports”. We no longer hear that it is participation that is more important rather than winning or losing. Today, sports is a big business and big businesses are involved in sports. But it must be ensured that commercialization is put to use in developing the infrastructure at the grass roots levels and by encouraging all sports and not just the more popular ones