The commercialization of sports: Is it improving it or killing long-standing traditions?

Randa Salame
Staff Writer

Did you ever imagine what you would do without beIN Sports? How much you could miss out on?

Commercialization has allowed sports to be followed by everybody – everywhere and anywhere.

It has undeniably taken sports to the great levels it is at today. Some may argue that there have been negative impacts to this, which are taking away the true essence of sports.

People who hold such views claim that money is infiltrating sports in a bad way, distorting the original purposes, ideals, and values of sports.

These include the purpose of sportsmanship and fun, healthy competition.

Several ethical and socio-cultural issues can be found today as a result of the ever-growing presence of blatant commercialization within sports. However, it is  much more relevant to focus on the countless ways that money and commercialization have benefitted the industry of sports as we know it. This can be discussed and is found in the opportunities it has created for the athlete, the industry but also the spectator.

Nowadays, fans can enjoy the thrilling moments of their favorite teams and games though the comfort of their TV screens at home. Young and old spectators cheer and rage, and paint their faces with their team color, even if they are watching the game on a screen and not on the field. There is still the same amount of craze and excitement, and this wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the colorful commercialization of sports.

Apart from TV channels paying millions to buy broadcasting rights, commercialization is everywhere. Ticket sales, fan club membership, and the club’s merchandise are all ways sports are increasingly being commercialized, allowing wealthy club owners to gain the most highly rated players.

Owners of clubs sell their merchandise all over the world, as fans everywhere are constantly purchasing T-shirts, uniforms and all kinds of merchandise from their favorite teams and players. Sponsorships also add considerable value to each team and sports club, can be seen in the example of Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates stadium.

In addition to shirt sponsorship, Emirates also proudly holds the naming rights to Arsenal’s home ground – Emirates Stadium. So, without the roles of business communities, athletes would not be able to compete and achieve at the levels they do today.

The Olympics and other important sporting events would not be as successful without the contribution of businesses providing technology, services, products, and financing. Hence, the united and social participation of many countries from all over the world are all thanks to this commercialization.

In addition, athletes have benefitted as they have been given the chance to take up their sport as a full time career. This is because athletes are financially secured for life, as they receive a huge amount of money for one single match they play. Plus, we have seen professional leagues given resources to help amateur athletes or women athletes to continue and pursue sport after the termination of their college eligibility.

It is clear that in the bigger picture, the opportunities that commercialization has created in transforming sports do outweigh any minor harms that may accompany it. This is why it is now important to maintain this balance, in order to preserve this enjoyment and excitement of sports, delivered by quality players and games.

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