| ]

Time has changed a lot for human beings. There were times when people used to live in caves and cover there bodies with leaves. Although, it took centuries for man, but still the caveman has managed to enter the modern life of super computers and super conductors, today. Over the course of history many things have changed significantly for human beings. The ways of thinking as well as procedures of doing various things have changed incredibly, for example, the way of living. Like countless other things, an immense transformation can be seen in the field of sports today. In the beginning, main form of the sports was to show bodily strength and compete with others on the basis of this. Ancient Greeks used to play these kinds of sports, since they believed that their gods liked the powerful and strong men (kidipede 2). Then gradually more and more types of sports came into practice. Today, we see millions of people in the world playing thousands of games involving bodily strength like wrestling, boxing and karate etc. Many sports are there which need different techniques besides bodily strength like soccer and cricket etc. Then, there are games that involve only brain power like chess and solving various kinds of puzzles. Many people in the world follow their favorite sport and sport stars crazily. Markets are full of shops that sell sports uniforms and goods. Fans love to buy shirts which have names of their favorite players. People are getting more and more into sports, and it can be analyzed by looking at the profits made by different sports clubs of today. Soccer clubs make hundreds of millions of dollars annually (clubs 5). This revolution in sports was not possible if there wasn’t the commercialization of sports.
Commercialization has taken sports to the level where they are today. It has brought lot of changes to the sports, especially by making sports a big and profitable business. Sports can now be followed by everybody, everywhere, and every second. More competitions are held every year as compared to past. For example, in tennis there are a number of tournaments played every year like Grand slam, U.S. open, French Open, British open and various others. Money is rained over player of these tournaments. A website usopen.org says “The 2009 US Open purse will top $21.6 million, marking the third consecutive year that the tournament's prize money has increased by $1 million (1).”  It further states that this prize money can reach up to $24.2 million (5). More and more people want to participate in the sports because of this shower of grand prizes. It has helped sports in getting quality players. The sports have become much more exciting, interesting, and competitive because of commercialization of sports, and it has brought a very positive change in sports.
Commercialization means to apply methods for gaining profit. Commercialization of sports means to use sports in order to make a financial gain. There can be various ways of using sports in earning money. Like millions of dollars can just be made by selling it broadcasting rights. The shirts having monograms of different teams are bought extensively by fans all over the world, and a big amount can be earned by this mean of business. These are just few of the numerous ways in which sports is making big cash. Sports’ stars themselves make a lot of money by advertizing products of different companies.  Ashraf tells on a website that a cricket star, Sachin Tendulkar, used to make Rs. 20 million ($ 0.25 million) by promoting products of a soft drinks company (10). More and more ways are being introduced to make money in sports, like displaying banners near the playing field and giving advertisements on T.V. while a game is being broadcasted.
 “Sports” have become a new concept than it used to be few decades ago. Many people give it as importance as matters of life and death. Trends and traditions have changed big-time over the years, and it is all because of commercialization of sports. People used to go to the playing fields them selves to see a game, but now it doesn’t matter whether one can go to a playing field himself or not. Games are broadcasted all over the world. Nowadays, fans just gather around a big T.V.  screen and enjoy a match as they are in the actual field. Young and old are equally observed in cheering their favorite teams, though they are in front of screens. The spirit of these spectators is no way less than the crowd witnessing the game live at the actual place where the game is being played. People color their faces according to the color of the uniforms the teams they are supporting. This craze and excitement has been given to game by commercialization.
Commercialization of sports has been there from almost ancient times in one way or the other. A website historyforkids.org tells us that ancient Greeks used to compete for prizes, but there is a great difference in commercialization of sports in the 21st century. Earlier there used to be just small prizes like it was said earlier, but that just involves paying the payer. The only common thing in today’s commercialization and ancient one is that these both are a mean of player’s pay. However, sports are commercialized to far greater level now. More money has been brought to the world of sports now, and players get highly paid. Today’s commercialization has made sports a full time job for players, while in earlier times it was only a part time job.
Sports have evolved and have become a very big business today. Many big businesses are heavily involved in sports too (Trevor 10). A professor of University of Otago, New Zealand, Slack, said, “Athletes in the major spectator sports are marketable commodities, sports teams are traded on the stock market, sponsorship rights at major events can cost millions of dollars, network television stations pay large fees to broadcast games, and the merchandising and licensing of sporting goods is a major multi- national business.” In sports there are usually some big names like Cristiano Ronaldo in soccer, Shahid Afridi in cricket or Mike Tyson in heavy weight boxing. These are called superstars of their respective sports, and they have an enormous number of fans who love them very much. Such people are picked by different companies, contracts involving heavy money are signed, and love of their fans is cashed. That is why; mostly big companies want to use these big names in order to promote their merchandise. It has helps the economy of countries. Companies are generating a lot of profit in this way, and will definitely create job opportunities in many countries. So, commercialization of sports has positive affects besides the good it is doing to sports.
            Commercialization of sports has served sports in many ways. It helps in organizing big events. Without money given by the sponsors it would have never been possible to arrange and organize events like world cups of cricket and football. The biggest event of sports all over the world is Olympics. It is an event that is arranged after every four years. Billions of dollars are involved in making arrangement for this event, like building suitable stadiums for the event of this magnitude, to provide accommodation for players, and security issues etc. This money comes because sports are commercialized. Dr. Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympics Committee is quoted by Monroe in his book, and he says, “Without the support of the business community, without its technology, expertise, people, services, products, telecommunication, it’s financing -- the Olympic Games could not happen. Without this support, the athletes cannot compete and achieve their very best in the world's best sporting event (75).” The event like Olympics involves almost all the countries in the world, and it creates a gesture of goodwill between all. The participation of so many countries is possible because the money for player’s travel comes from the sponsorships due commercialization of sports.
Today, sports’ events have become part of life style of many people. It has become a solid business as well. It is very helpful in generating profit in the world of today, the world of marketing, promotion, and advertisements (Lee 5). Today most of the university sports are sponsored by various companies. This trend in sports has enabled a number of emerging players to display of their skills who might not have got any chance otherwise. It has made easy for colleges and universities to hold different competitions to give a chance to students participate in co-curricular activities. Like in Beijing, the University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, track team is sponsored by a tire company (Washington 6). It is helping the students to groom well. Commercialization is proving to be very beneficial in this regard too.
            Some of the sports have become famous all over the world because of the colors and excitement given by the commercialization. Cricket, for example, used to be a longer game, but now it is has been given a new name, T20, and shorter format. Like in India, a T20 tournament, champion’s league, attracted a sponsorship of Rs. 1700 million ($30 million) (Airtel 1). Another revolutionary change can be seen in the game of soccer. In England there are various clubs which make hundreds of millions of dollars in a year. That’s why these clubs get the best players in the world to play for them, and it improves the quality of the game too. Best players mainly get attracted because of the big incentives given by various clubs. It is the main reason soccer has become best in term of quality, and it is the only game that is played by every country in the world (library 10). Sports thrive if they are getting good sponsorships, as it helps to get and hunt the best players in a country. For example in Pakistan, Cricket is becoming better and popular day by day, while hockey isn’t showing any sign of life in the same country. Although, there are many reasons, but the availability of sponsorships is the main cause of the present situation of these sports. Cricket is the most successful sports in generating good monetary support from marketing and private sponsors, but hockey is unable to have sticker of even a single sponsor on their shirts (dawn 11).
Commercialization has also helped sports’ fans very much. It is due to commercialization that so many TV channels pay millions of dollars to buy the broadcasting rights, it enables the sport viewers from all over the world to watch the sports they love. “NBC paid well over $600 million for these Olympics. The games have long been a favorite for viewers and the network says more than 170 million Americans have seen the games on NBC and its sister channels” (NBC 10). If some body likes to follow a game, then there are many channels which help him in this regard, and it is all because of commercialization. Now, most of fans don’t have to travel long distances in order to enjoy the thrilling moments of their favorite sports rather they can watch it very easily and comfortably in their homes. A broadcasting company made a deal of Rs. 82000 million ($1200 million) to get the rights to broadcast a T20 tournament of cricket (cricinfo 5).
Although there are so many goods done to sports by commercialization, however there are some issues which are not liked by most of the people. Some people think that it is because of commercialization that the problems like mach fixing have become more common. Many people talk about fair play these days. An interesting survey was done on the use of word “match-fixing.” It tells us that the use of this word is more common than any time in the past, and it has increased up to ten times than last year (match-fixing 5). Kuang, an instructor, at Taipei Physical Education College thinks that modern sports have lost its ethical stance. He also says, “Commercialization has damaged the concept of fair play and led to the priority of profits over good sportsmanship; and that sports are no longer the honest competition they used to be” (11). UNESCO Education’s Code of Sports Ethics (1992) defines fair play as “much more than playing with the rules”, a notion that “incorporates the concept of friendship, respect for others and always playing within the right spirit”. It is very clear that money from above facts that money has some got priority in sports over every thing because of commercialization, and it is not acceptable to many sports’ fans.

            Sometimes players have to play more than their stamina to satisfy the sponsors. A report that was published in gulf news, recently, told us that European Tour members might be participating in more events in to please the sponsors (1). If players will start caring more about sponsors than the sports, then it will affect the quality of the game of many players. This is something that isn’t noticed very much by the fans, because they love to see their stars more and more in action, and they forget the fact that it can spoil the game of their heroes. Wrestling can serve as a very good example of the negative impacts of commercialization of sports. When there was real wrestling gong on in the past there weren’t many people interested in watching them. Since, wrestling is being shown all over the world by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), there are many people who not only watch but also follow it with great enthusiasm. Here, commercialization has spoiled the real spirit of the game, but it has made the “fake” wrestling a good business though. Michael says that WrestleMania, an organization that arranges the wrestling tournaments, is close to make almost fifty million dollars (5). In these ways commercialization can prove to be very harmful to the sports, but there are many goods that commercialization has done to sports, so its pros outweigh the cons.
            Well, commercialization, the way sports is transformed into business, has proved to be extremely beneficial for sports in many ways. It enabled team management to pay their players a handsome amount, which in turn helped to look for better players, and it improved the quality of the game. It has also helped big companies to promote and advertise their goods using the fame sports’ stars, which has been helpful to economy of various countries. Because of the availability of money better stadiums have been built today, which have made sports more colorful, fun, and exciting. Since, advertisement pays off the TV channels, so they broadcast the various matches all over the world, and it has made easier for fans to witness the excitements of the sports coming from all over the world. Commercialization has some negative impacts too, like it appears that it might be the cause of increasing match-fixings. It definitely has prioritized the money over sportsmanship, and that is somehow against the spirit of sports. By looking at both sides of the picture, one can easily go in the favor of commercialization of sport. Although, there are some negative impacts, but the benefits of commercialization outnumber its harms greatly. So, commercialization made it easy to see more and better quality players, and it has also made the sport much more fun than they use to be.

Written By:  Sultan Mehmood ( LUMS )

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...