The Business of Sports

In the past decade the business of sports has grown into a gigantic global industry, which includes everything from sports magazines to running shoes, ticket sales, TV commercials, player & coach salaries, team budgets, and even naming rights and concession prices. More and more marketing and advertising are creeping into every corner of the games we love and grew up with. Here’s a look at the industry and how much money is being made off of our enjoyment of sports:

  • The global market for sporting goods is estimated to reach $303 billion by 2015.
  • The estimated size of the entire U.S. sports industry in 2011 was $422 billion.
  • In 2011, companies spent more than $27.8 billion on sports advertising in the U.S.
  • Sporting goods equipment, clothing, licensed merchandise, athletic footwear, and fitness equipment sales totaled $74.2 billion in 2010.
  • All three major TV networks will be paying the NFL a total of $3.3 billion a year for the next 9 years.
  • While you watched the Super Bowl NBC raked in $245 million from commercials (70 spots at $3.5 million a piece).
  • The Super Bowl was streamed online this year for the first time ever, providing another new source of advertising income.

Use Them Up, Toss Them Out

Because of the push to profit, owners and league officials treat players like disposable equipment. Once they are no longer profitable for team owners they are sold or traded to other teams, or find themselves out of a job. Football is a great example. Instead of investing in developing and mandating better safety equipment and regulations, owners would rather play on despite the consequences. Here are some of them:

  • The shortest careers among NFL players tend to be those who hit and get hit the most during games and practice.
  • Running backs have the shortest average careers of just 2.57 years. Wide receivers have average careers of 2.81 years. The average career for cornerbacks is 2.94 years.
  • A 2007 study on NFL players who had sustained three or more concussions found they were three times as likely to develop clinical depression as players who had not suffered concussions.
  • In the same study, these players were also more likely to develop brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.