Competitive Balance Sanderson, Allen R. Term Paper

Length: 4 pages Subject: Sports Type: Term Paper Paper: #55682125 Related Topics: Baseball, Sport Injury, Boxing, National Football League
Excerpt from Term Paper :

272). However, the authors do not include a counterbalance to such arguments -- longer seasons also can result in viewer attrition of interest, the competition from other sports beginning while the season sprawls on, and the anger of fans if they feel that their team has been unfairly treated by new rules.

The authors do acknowledge there are also psychological facilitators of interest in sports besides win-loss competition, and could have treated this critical issue with greater depth. The hope that the underdog will triumph can create a psychological perception of competition that occasionally, as in the case of the recent SuperBowl between the undefeated New England Patriots and the New York Giants, is substantiated in fact, especially in the selective memory of sports fans (Sanderson & Siegfried, 2003, p. 261). The local desire to have a winning team and fan loyalty will also factor into the success of creating a popular if not a winning team, as can player preferences for certain teams (Sanderson & Siegfried, 2003, p. 263). Some communities may be welcoming of sports facilities within their midst, just as some fans are more tolerant of losing or winning all of the time, depending on their relationship with a team or player. These feelings may exist, regardless of the season's competitive nature.

Another problem with attempting to institute controls upon the system is the volatile nature of any competitive balance no matter how monopolistic, given the short career spans of even the most durable athletes and the fluidity of team membership. Controls that work in one market may not be necessary, or work against competition, ten years later. The authors view baseball as a fixed industry, much like the auto industry, for all of their stress on the special nature of its competition They also seem to overstate their case: "Of the many contemporary controversies in baseball -- ticket prices, owners' financial losses, contentious labor-management disputes, the level and rate of growth of players' salaries, among others -- the one that has arguably received the most attention recently is the alleged lack of competitive balance....

...

It was the principal focus of the commissioner's BRR -- front and center with regard to proposed provisions of the 2002 collective bargaining agreement -- and is a constant theme with the press, public, and economists writing about baseball" (Sanderson & Siegfried, 2003, p. 273).

The authors overstate the need for a competitive imbalance in baseball in terms of measuring competition in terms of player's salaries, which they tend to equate with value and quality, and win-loss records. Psychological ties to teams and the volatile nature of play can quickly create different competitive balances in swift, seismic shifts, or simply the perception of a competitive season. Always fans ask themselves nagging questions, regardless of the score: Who would have ever though the Yankees could go home in ignominious defeat or the Red Sox could capture a World Series? Hope springs eternal. Thus the authors make a trenchant economic analysis, but fail to take into consideration some critical, albeit anecdotal points. Many teams, despite their lack of competitive sustainability over a number of seasons, including the Mets, Red Sox, and White Sox, still retained a core fan base. In baseball, love-hate relationships can sustain competition, and even perverse affection for teams that never come out on 'top.' Even the back-story of athletes have sustained some otherwise unwatchable sports for many Americans, like Lance Armstrong's total domination of the Tour de France, despite cycling's lack of cinematic interest or competition during his years on the tour. Unlike other economic products, the relationship of fans to baseball, to sports and general, and to athletes is often emotional, and until the psychological factors of supply and demand in sports for different 'kinds' of competition is addressed, the analysis of competition as an enclosed unit of economic sports measurement will forever be incomplete. Many sports have deep talent pools but little fan loyalty simply because of national tradition,…

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