This is the first draft of the first 6 pages due on March 9, 2012.
First Year Writing
February 25, 2012
Fan, Fans, Fanatics:
The History of the Sports Business
To truly understand the business of sports, it is necessary to consider the roles of the participants in the industry, particularly the fans. One needs to be able to clearly identify a fan; a fan can be described as “a person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport.” A fan, stands out, not only in the stadium but in daily lives of the people invested in sports. Fans express their support for their teams by buying and displaying their teams merchandise and by purchasing tickets to the games. Fans also show their devotion by discussing about the latest game, and by debating who will be the best player or team in the upcoming season.An in depth analyzation of sports reveals that teams are more then an entertainment factor; they are also a business. The business then becomes responsible for marketing players and logos to fans, at a fee of course. Throughout the twentieth century, fans increasingly looked for entertainment and diversion in daily life, through sports. Overtime, sports greatly impacted the daily lives of so many people, that these fans gradually turned into fanatics. Fanatics are different from fans because of their level of devotion. A fanatic can be described as a “person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for something,” and in this instance the “something” , is the sports world. The term fanatic has become a relatively new word when discussing sports. Fanatics and fans of all kinds, have altered professional athletics in recent decades, today professional teams are seen as growing businesses supported by fans. Technological advancements in media, namely the radio and most importantly the television, has enabled the sports industries to prosper into an enormous businesses, while bringing the thrill of the game into the home of the fans. In the twentieth century, the sports industry grew from small businesses into privately owned multimillion franchises. Of course, as the number of fans grew, so did the sports business, and with this expansion, businesses gained more power over the fans.
Owners quickly realized the potential profit from sports, and many began to manipulate sports from its pure form into an expensive business affordable only by the wealthy. Not only are professional athletes being paid millions of dollars (in today’s market) but coaches, trainers and owners are making a “pretty penny” too. In recent years, many fans have wondered if sport teams really even care about the fans anymore. When the economic recession hit in 2008, teams noticed they were quickly losing their fan base and the business tried to entice their fans into coming back and continue to support them. Finally, the sports business had come to the realization that their actions during the last fifty years, had consequences. When the number of ticket sales fell and merchandise sales were at an all time low, teams pondered their survival. Professional sports suffered financially due to the lack of fan devotion towards the game. Without fans, professional sports are unimportant and senseless; fans provide teams with a constant income. Many teams have contemplated a move to other markets in order to attract a more affluent fan base and to avoid facing bankruptcy at home. Throughout the history of sports some teams have in fact move to other location where fans can be found and the franchise would continue under a new identity. Like the United States government, without support from the citizens, Democracy and the Constitution, would hold no value. The fans are like the citizens and the United States government is the business, neither can exist without the other. The business is dependent on the fans for support, just like the government is dependent on the citizens for support. If the sports world continues to lose its fans support, the future business of sports looks bleak.
(*Maybe put Homo Ludens in here about fans and his opposing view point*)
Everyone acknowledges the fans are the driving force behind the growing sports industry, but what happens when the fans are tired of paying outrageous ticket prices? Is the sports industry going to see a rapid decline in fans? When people first began to engage in sports, sports were unorganized. Friends, neighbors and families participated in friendly athletic competitions. Sports provided a way to relieve the stresses of daily life; participants could relax and enjoy the day. Of course, even early sports required rules and a common goal of besting your opponent. Competition was keen but there was no pressure to preform, unlike professional athletics today. Looking back on the beginning of sports, the business of sports didn’t exist. It wasn’t until fans became so obsessed with the sport, that players wanted to organized leagues and practices, to become more skillful players. As the popularity of sports grew, the idea of organized leagues and later the idea of coaches soon became a reality and vital for teams trying to become better competitors. From organized games came leagues and from leagues evolved the business of sports. The sports business didn't stop there, it further grew with the increased support from the fans and these businesses transformed into the entity, known today as a franchise.
One of the earliest sport known in the world was soccer, interested spectators adapted soccer into a community undertaking. Although, soccer is still not big in America, soccer has become the biggest sports industry in the world. Soccer was invented by the British, and British soldiers played whenever they could get the chance to compete against one another. Sometimes, soccer games were also a part of the British soldiers physical training program (Alegi). British soldiers were sent around the world in the eighteen hundreds, when during this time Britain expand their empire through imperialism. Many African nations as well as Asian Empires were taken over by the British. With the British soldiers, came the sport of soccer. Many native people started to develop an interest in soccer from watching the soldiers compete against one other in games. Not only was soccer enjoyable but it didn’t require much equipment; soccer only required a ball and a opened field. The sport started to take off in Africa in the late eighteen hundreds, also, during this time soccer in Europe and the British colonies began to organize into leagues. The first leagues in Africa began as early as 1880, beginning with the Pietermaritzburg County Football Club and Natal Wasps FC (Alegi). From this point on, organized soccer increased in popularity, with many spectators showing an interest and knowledge of the game. Nearly all the games were well attended by the local community (Alegi). In the book, African Soccerscapes, Peter Alegi focuses on the fans and their love for the game. Although Africans were not allowed to play in games (at first) they still expressed a love for the sport. Despite the racial segregation in Caucasian leagues and European soccer, Africans began to form their own leagues and teams. They started by versing local teams, later teams reached out to challenge other African teams across the continent. Devoted fans would take advantage of the bank holidays in August and travel with their teams with half-priced tickets on steam boats (Alegi). In Zanzibari an elderly man explains how “everyone’ converged on the port to greet the teams as they came off the boat...” (Alegi). Soccer teams in Africa became a symbol for national unity among rival tribes and ultimately through soccer, Africans united as a community with a common interest. In The View From the Stand by Elif Batuman, she also explains her personal experience of Turkish soccer fans as fanatical but also as united (Batuman). Her experience with Turkish soccer fans is extremely similar to the unity of the fans from African nations. She describes how the fans would unite together in a community, although Istanbul has a very diverse community, the love of their soccer team brought them together (Batuman). From this unity, people naturally looked out for each other regardless of religious views or background (Batuman). Turkish soccer fans have reached a more intense level of devotion taking their love of the game, home and continuing to show their obsession in daily activities, causing them to be labeled fanatics. This sense of devotion towards their soccer teams and fanaticism across the world, has enabled the sport business to first develop and then grow into one of the most powerful businesses in the world.
In his book, Peter Alegi initially focuses on the racial influence of soccer on Africa. However, towards the end of his book, after soccer was integrated, he begins to talk about the growing business of soccer. Alegi, describes the sport business as a private business with a private owner. This is very similar in America and the rest of world, meaning many teams are privately owned by one or a few people. Leagues in Africa were never funded by the government but were rather built and owned by wealthy business men seeking to invest for a profit. As soccer became one of the biggest sports world wide, many European Leagues, like those in France and Britain decided to add African players with exceptional skill to their teams (Alegi). From a business point of view, adding African players not only helped to produce a better team but in doing so, the business also expanded their fan base to African colonies. Even though, African national teams were developing, many African soccer fans continued to support European soccer team. By the 1950s, many African colonies had established a national soccer team. But, many talented African players still went overseas to European leagues for more exposure in a more competitive league and higher paying salaries. This was especially true for European Leagues like those in France, who after World War II, needed a new financial plan to mediate the financial troubles that were threatening the vitality of their soccer teams (Alegi). European team owners found that they could pay talented African players less salaries (50,000 francs monthly or 811 euros in 2008 value) then European players (Alegi). Thus, European soccer teams extended their fan base, developed new markets and improved their financial status. Peter Alegi expresses the support for European soccer clubs from the African fans by stating,
...many African football (soccer) fans with disposable income express their status
and identity as consumers of football (soccer) by wearing European, not African,
team jerseys, both the expensive branded originals and inexpensive knockoffs.
African national teams began losing their fan base to the more competitive and financially secure European soccer leagues. Alegi clearly proves there is a decline in fan support for African Soccer Leagues because of the dominant European soccer business. The sport industry most effectively identifies the amount of fans by the amount of merchandise sold. “In South Africa, the continents largest economy, local commodification of fandom is visible in the sale of Kaizer Chiefs and the Orlando Pirates merchandise, ranging from replica jerseys, scarves and caps to cell phones and life insurance” (Alegi). In addition, Alegi shows the variety of merchandise business owners are willing to endorse just to make a profit. This demonstrates the level of devotion the fans have for their teams, because some are even willing to show support by buying team sanctioned life insurance. Fans are willing to buy anything and the business takes advantage of the fans willingness and love of their teams to make a profit out of them. During this shift to European soccer, many weary Africans called for a return of loyalty and patriotism to national soccer teams (Alegi). Before long, some African players turned down European leagues to focus on a better national home team (Alegi). As African National Soccer teams gained fans, the business of soccer steadily blossomed into a source of national pride. The launch of the soccer business around the world in the late eighteenth century is very similar to establishment of the baseball business in America.
America’s favorite pastime, baseball, first appeared in America in the late eighteen hundreds. Similar to the business of soccer in Africa, the baseball business in America also began small. Timothy Gay’s, Satch, Dizzy and Rapid Robert, reflects back to the very beginning of baseball in America. American baseball began just as pure and unorganized as soccer in Africa. In his book, Gay discusses the business of Barnstorming as a way of life for many African American players as well as some Caucasian Players. This book also depicts racial challenges many African Americans faced in the baseball business; these challenges were very similar to those many Africans came across in the soccer business. Focusing on the business, baseball was still growing and many baseball players couldn't afford to be only baseball players; most players required an addition source of income to survive. Only the most famous and recognizable names like Babe Ruth, were paid enough to maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle. Many players in the Major Leagues resorted to playing on Barnstorming teams, in the off season, to provide a continuous income. Barnstorming began in 1901 and lasted for over fifty year, until 1962, when Major League Baseball finally became integrated (Gay). Barnstorming was legendary for its popular appeal, easy accessibility to fans and entertaining baseball theatrics. Barnstorming games offered fans in rural areas a unique opportunity to watch and support the most famous players in baseball history(Gay). For many African American players, like Satchel Paige, participating in Barnstorming games, was the only way to play the sport they loved while making enough money to support themselves. Teams known for Barnstorming, were often very low budget and relied on fan support to pay the team’s daily expenses. Satchel played for the Kanas City Monarchs and as he became more famous, he attracted more fans to his team’s games. Soon the Monarch’s were able to afford better hotels, equipment and Satchel was given given a salary increase (Gay). Before Satchel became famous, the Monarchs simply weren’t welcomed in most hotels and even if they were tolerated, they usually couldn’t afford most hotel rates. Satchel recalls an experience he had while on the road, “using [our] grips as pillows, [we] bunked on the outfield” (Gay). Satchel Paige’s popularity was largely due to his amazing pitching ability; he was good enough to compete against many Major League Baseball professionals. After Paige played in a career game changer against Dizzy Dean, Paige soon found himself one of the most famous African American Baseball players. The Kansas City Monarchs became one of the most successful and dominant African American teams largely due to Satchel Paige’s fame among baseball fans. Paige started to pair up with “Dizzy” Dean and “Daffy” Dean ( famous pitchers just as well known as Paige) in barnstorming games to stage competitions between their very similar pitching styles and skills (Gay). Fans flocked to the Paige- Deans games for the entertainment, fierce competition and celebrity viewing. The Dean boys took advantage of their celebrity status by promoting, playing in and showing up to as many games as they possibly could. The brothers signed with teams that would give them a salary plus an additional percentage of the tickets sold for that game (Gay). The Dean brothers also had some contracts that only required them to show up, not play in order to get paid. After Major League Baseball began the process of integrating its teams, Barnstorming lasted only a year or two more as many African American players signed with Major Leagues Baseball teams (MLB). The business of barnstorming ended when the new policies of the MLB brought both African American fans and Caucasian fans together to support the newly racially integrated professional teams. The business of Major League Baseball had successfully ruined the business of the off season leagues by simply bringing together the fans.The sport businesses of World Soccer and America’s Major League Baseball would soon face drastic changes with the new technological advancements in the media.
This is the first draft we wrote in class on Tuesday.
First Year Writing
February 25, 2012
Fan, Fans, Fanatics
To truly understand the sports world, one must understand the real definition of a fan. Clearly a fans is “a person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport.” A fan, stands out, not only in a stadium but in daily life. Fans express their support for their teams by buying their teams merchandise, by talking about the latest game and debating who will be the best team in the upcoming season. This most obviously states that teams are more then an entertainment factor but they are also a business. Marketing their players and logos to fans, at a fee of course. Throughout the twentieth century we can see how fans looking for entertainment gradually turn into fanatics. The term fanatic has become a relatively new word when discussing sports. Fanatics are different from fans because of their level of devotion. A fanatic can be described as a “person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for something,” and by something we mean sports. Fanatics have altered professional athletics in recent years, todays professional sports are seen as a growing business. Ever since technological advancements especially in media, including the radio and most importantly the television, professional sports have prospered into a enormous business. In the twentieth century, we can see the franchise of sports growing from small business into privately owned franchises. Of coarse the numbers have grown and this has helped the business to gain power over the fans and turn a game from the its true pure form into an expensive business only for the wealthy. Not only are professional athletes being paid millions of dollars but coaches, trainers and owners are making a “pretty penny”. In recent years, many fans wonder if teams really even care about them. When the recession hit in 2008, we can see the teams coming back to the fans. Finally they had come to a realization of actions over the last fifty years came with consequences. With the number of ticket sales falling and merchandise sales at an all time low, teams pondered their survival. The sports industry becomes unimportant and senseless when you take away the fans. Without fans you wouldn’t have a constant income and therefore the sports business would be forced to move to another location where fans can be found or the business would be forced into bankruptcy and disappear. Fans are the driving force behind teams. Like the United States government, without the citizens to support democracy and the constitution it would have no value. Has the sport world turned their back on their fanatics? Have fanatics moved on to watching games at home instead of stadiums?
Everyone knows the fans are the driving force behind the growing sports industry, but what happens when the fans are tired of paying outrageous ticket prices? Is the sports industry going to see a rapid decline in fans? When sports were first invented, they were unorganized. It was an athletic competition between friends, neighbors and families. Sports started out as a way to get away from real life, relax and enjoy the day. Of coarse even early sports had rules and a goal to beat your opponent. Looking back to the beginning of sports, business of sports don’t exist. Players played for their enjoyment and the game became more serious when they started practicing and coaches started coaching.
The earliest sport known in the world was soccer, although soccer is still not big in America, it now is one of the biggest industries in the rest of the world. Soccer was invented by the British, and British soldiers played whenever they could get the chance to get on land and find a field. Sometimes soccer games were also a part of a British soldiers physical training programs (Alegi). British soldiers were sent around the world in the eighteen hundreds as Britain was the first to expand their country through imperialism. Many African nations as well as Asian Empires were taken over by the British. With the British soldiers, came the sport of soccer that native people started to gain an interest watching the soldiers compete against each other. Not only was soccer enjoyable but it didn’t require much equipment, all you needed was a ball. The sports started to take off in Africa in the late eighteen hundreds. Also during this time we start to see the beginning of organized soccer in British colonies as well as Europe. Leagues began starting in...
In the book African Soccerscapes, Peter Alegi specifically focuses on the sport of soccer in Africa. Towards then end of the book, when soccer has been integrated through new rules, the author begins to talk about the growing business of sports. Alegi, describes the sport business as a private business with a private owner. He determines that all leagues were not funded by the government but were rather built and owned by wealthy business men seeking to invest for a profit. As soccer began to become one of the biggest sports world wide, many of the “mother countries”, like France and Britain decided to also add African players with exceptional skill to help further make their team the best. In doing so they also increased their fan base from one region to many parts of Africa including millions more. The sport industry most effectively identifies the amount of fans by the number of sales. In South Africa, the continents largest economy, local commodification of fandom is visible in the sale of Kaizer Chiefs and the Orlando Pirates merchandise, ranging from replica jerseys, scarves and caps to cell phones and life insurance. (Alegi)