Sport Business

Commercialism in sport: Where will it end?

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Sport is a worldwide market, and is one of the most thriving and money-making in the world.

It is viewed by billions in one way or another, and is viewable 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In particular, it's football that is 'the people's game', having found popularity first amongst the working class. 

So why is it that sport is being lost inside a whirlwind of commercialism?

This weeks Champions League showcased just how controlled by money sport truly is. Adverts for Gazprom whenever possible, Mastercard constantly rearing their head, matches at the Emirates and the Etihad. There just seems to be no end. 

Substitutions, attendances, matchballs and stadiums are all the subject of advertisement. My club, Derby County, do all of those. The recent name change of the stadium to the iPro Stadium, has generated funds for the club, which is understandable. But the rest is absurd.

Is it not just embarrassing for the club, and even for those who allow their names to be used, to hear their brand proudly advertising a Yeovil Town change? And let's face it, can it really get them any extra interest in their company?

The brand in question sells carpets, surely the last thing football fans care about when watching a live match? Audible groans reverb around the stadium, and some fans genuinely seem ashamed of what their club has turned into, shaking their heads in despair.

This is not what sport is meant to be about. Sport is a worldwide industry, but it is something which is for the people, not for money. Some advertisement is good, and it has made sport the success it is today, particularly football and the Olympics. But there must be a limit.

Arsenal's record shirt deal is worth an unbelievable £150million, an astonishing amount just for making kits. Ticket prices are at an average of £50. If Arsenal are generating so much money from outside deals, why do they feel the need to charge such an extortionate amount? 

Southern League club Merthyr Town have done something unthinkable and allowed their stadium to be named the Cigg-E Stadium, after its sponsor, an electronic cigarette firm. This is a shameful act, as even if E-Cigarettes are supposed to be clean and tobacco free, it is still endorsing a form of smoking. 

Outside of football, the Olympics has generated heavy criticism in the past for being sponsored by fast food chain McDonalds. The Olympic Park had a huge McDonalds on it, in a place which showcased the world's fittest and most successful athletes. Is that not slightly contradictory? They are also sponsored by Coca-Cola, hardly the healthiest of drinks. 

Yes. Sponsorship is good for sport, but not to the extent where it becomes completely commonplace. Clubs thrive off shirt sponsorships and even stadium naming rights can be acceptable. But some things are too much.

Everything that can possibly have a name branded on it, do. Boundary ropes, crowd segregation, corner flags, backs of shirts, electronic boards, the floor, it really is commercial overdrive. If sponsorship was a person, you would take out a restraining order, such is the harassment it gives to sporting experiences. 

Listen to older fans and they will tell you sport was better when they were young. Sponsorship was a rarity back decades ago, and it was probably a happier place. Now, there is so much money and importance pumped into sport that all the fun factor is almost gone, especially in football.

Cricket began (and still to an extent is) an amateurs game, which frowned upon even paying people to play, let alone allow sponsors to spread their mucky mits over their grounds. It is good that the paying side of things have changed today, lets not question that one bit. But the sponsorship thing, maybe they were onto something there. 

It is unforeseen just how far the money side of sport will go, but it may not be too long until your favourite players become either Wayne "Selco Builders Warehouse" Rooney, or Dickinsons Real Madrid Deal's Cristiano "Primark" Ronaldo. 

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Topics:
Sport Business
UEFA Champions League
Football

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DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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