The importance of sports in any normal social setup cannot be overstated. Sports provide entertainment for the members of the society and also provide an opportunity for people to take a break from the normal hustles of life within the society. The value of sports in any society is very high. They are extremely vital in terms of their impact on public sectors such as the mass media and economics of a society. Sports help promote nationalism within a society. Identification with a certain team or sporting activity by the members of society promotes togetherness and unity. The fact that all society members can affiliate with a given sport tends to bring the society together (Lewis, 2012).
Sport promotes social values and also coincides with political agencies as it in a way defines moral values which apply not only to the sportsmen and sports women, but to the whole society (Feistein, 2013). Followers and faithfuls of any sport find reassurance of important values in the society through the sport as the activity gives their lives more meaning. By virtue of being fans, people are able to take part in many kinds of desire to fulfill pleasures.
Ideally sports were initially used only as a source of recreation and entertainment by a society. Sports would be a way of having fun. However, in the modern times, sports have become commercialized and are being used to generate income for various incomes. People talented in various games have come up with ways of using their talents effectively to earn money and thus a livelihood. This, however, does not mean that the sport has lost its meaning. It is still an important source of recreation and entertainment only that now participants can use it to earn an income (Shuart, 2013).
Commercialization of sports
Professional sportsmen and women have emerged. They have opted fully to commit to doing sports as a profession and earn their income purely from sports. Other people also form sporting teams and organizations which earn income by participating in the sports (Tellender, 2010). At this level where the athletes perform professionally, the fans and followers of the sport expect commitment, and the athletes are under obligation to perform to the satisfaction of the fans. Value is placed on the players rather than on the impact of the sport in the sport.
It is important that we look at sport from both perspectives. We should view sports a both a form of business and investment and also from a social point of view. The sport industry is like an institution, something global which gives a sense of belonging to many individuals across the globe. Therefore, it is also important that we note and appreciate the value that professional sportsmen and women have on humanity. The realization and appreciation of the importance of such athletes will help eliminate the perception that sports are a source of fun and amusement, and get away from usual life difficulties and hardships (Holden & Pugh, 2011).
Sports commercialization has led to the establishment of many organizations that seek to oversee the running of sports activities. The establishment of competitive sport leagues is an example of developments in the professional sports sector. An example of one such competitive league is the Major League Soccer, which is similar to the Barclays premier league. In the Major League Soccer, various teams from across the US take part in football competition that involved each team playing against all the other teams in the league. At the end of a competitive league, there is a monetary prize for the teams with the most impressive performances (Wadas, 2010).
There are various shareholders in the competitive leagues. We have the people who own teams who earn directly from the incomes of the teams. Then there are the individual players who take part in the actual gaming. We also have the government through the sports ministry and also various sports departments who are also part of the sports. The fans and spectators are also vital to the sport and thus are also shareholders in such sporting activity. It is of utmost importance and for the good of any sport that the interests of all the shareholders are protected, and their expectations met.
Intervention of Government to safeguard diverse interests of shareholders
The competitive sport leagues are an important source of income for the team owners. The main interest of those who own teams that take part in the competitive leagues is most certainly to make money from every outing. They are willing to take part in anything that would help their teams to bring in more money. This has led to the owners having their teams work extra hard to achieve this. Due to the high level of competition in the leagues, some team owners find themselves opting to take part in malpractices and activities that sometimes interfere with the interest of the other shareholders in the sport (Waldron, Worsfold, & Twist, 2014).
Exploitation of sportspersons
The team owners take part in activities that amount to exploitation of the players. The players can be exploited in various ways. For example, the team owners can opt to introduce training activities that are overboard and endanger the health of the players and thus put their life at risk. This is all done to increase their productivity in terms of performance that would mean income for the club owners. It is at this point that the government should step in to control and regulate the working conditions under which the players are exposed (Plimpton, 2013). The government should form a regulatory commission that look into and ensure that the players are not overused or exposed to hazardous conditions that could amount to inhuman treatment. It should be done in a way that does not interfere with the private property rights of the club owner (Conroy, 2009).
The government should also step in to ensure that the players are well paid well by the club owners. This is to ensure that the players are paid according to their value. At times,club owners can be tempted to reduce the salaries of the players so greedy to keep a larger portion of the income generated to them. The players need to be protected from this exploitation. They are in this case employees of the team owners. The government should, therefore, ensure that the team owners fulfill their obligations as per the contracts (Shuart, 2013). This, however, should not mean that the owners are not allowed to regulate the salaries of the players according to their performance and results obtained from the games. It is important that that the government in their action, also keep in mind the team owners' rights and expectations.
The government should also ensure security is providing during games in a competitive league. Due to its competitive nature, rivalry normally arises. This rivalry is because of competition between teams in the league or due to the geographical location of the clubs. Teams from the same locality tend to have a fierce rivalry between them. It is vital for the government to be on the look out to ensure that the rivalry does not escalate and become a security issue. Security should, therefore, be provided during the competitive matches especially those that involve big teams or ones with a fierce rivalry between them. This will be important as the followers will be protected and; therefore, they will be in a position to enjoy themselves without fear. The government control, however, should not be so strict as unnecessarily to curtail the freedom of speech and movement of the spectators and the fans (Feistein, 2013).
The government should also ensure that the playing fields and grounds are of the required standards. This will ensure the safety of both fans and players. This is because some games are bound to draw large crowds depending on the popularity of the teams or rivalry between the playing teams. We have had instances where stadiums collapse causing disastrous damage and loss of a number of lives. The government should, therefore, be able to step in and ensure that the owners of the teams are able to build safe and accommodative playing fields and stadiums that will prioritize the safety and security of the followers of the game. Substandard facilities should be a good enough reason for a club or team to be barred from taking part in any competitive league (Tellender, 2010).
Succession and continuity
The government should also come in to ensure that local talents are promoted. The competitive leagues should be used to ensure that local talents are developed. This is to say that involvement of foreign players should be regulated to ensure that even the local talents are developed. Sports are an important aspect of our society, and it will be very unfortunate if our sports teams that take part in the competitive leagues are mainly composed of players from other regions. The government can, therefore, improve the sector by advocating for the nurturing and development of local talent. Institutions should be put in place that will facilitate the development of locally based players. Consequently, it will increase local beneficiaries of the competitive leagues (Tellender, 2010).
With the competitive matches, sometimes the tickets to go and watch the league matches sometimes rise. It is also possible that the team owners would sometimes decide to maliciously increase ticket prizes in order to enable them maximize profits from the sale of the tickets. This would amount to exploitation of the fans that come to be part of the games. This may also discourage many fans from attending the games and this will undermine the income from the sport as well as the government revenue in the form of taxes. The prices should, therefore, be regulated. It is should be ensured that the prizes are not placed too low as to make the team owner incur losses, and neither should they are too high as to exploit the consumers or discourage them from attending such competitions (McGinnis, 2012).
Even with the ever increasing competition in the competitive leagues, it is important that the integrity is maintained and upheld. Various sportsmen and women can sometimes be tempted to indulge in illegal activities that will help them enhance their performance in the game. This includes the use of energy enhancing drugs such as steroids. This will give them an unfair advantage over their opponents. Sometimes these actions may not be individual but may involve collusion between the players and the team owners (Plimpton, 2013). The government should, therefore, put in place institutions that will keep the players in check and ensure the integrity within the sports industry. Integrity is vital, and these will ensure development of sport without anyone benefiting unfairly.
Evasion of taxes by the team owners is also a habit that the governments need to check and take care of. Being a business it is only natural that the owners would try and maximize on the profits and this might lead them to resort to unethical means such as tax evasion. This will ensure running of legitimate business by the team owners. This also helps in the promotion of the main spirit of the sports (Conroy, 2009).
Sports are thus vital and play an important role in the society. It is, therefore, important that the government can step in to ensure that sports are well run. The government should, however, be cautious not to interfere with rights of the athletes and also those of the team owners especially those pertaining to private property rights. The government should take part in consultations with the shareholders in order to come up with effective rules to ensure smooth running of sports in competitive leagues.
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Feistein, J. (2013). A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the Tour. New York: Cengage Learning.
Holden , S., & Pugh, S. (2011). Athlete Burnout: Is the Type of Sport a Factor? The Sport Journal, 7-23.
Lewis, M. (2012). Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
McGinnis , J. (2012). The Miracle in Sports. London: Cengage Learning.
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Shuart, J. (2013). Commercialization of Sport. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 12-24.
Tellender, R. (2010). Safety in the Playground. New York: MacGrow Hill.
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Waldron, M., Worsfold, P., & Twist, C. (2014). Comparision of the Incomes of the Best Teams. Journal of Sports and Sciences, 18-29.