Why is sport immune to recession?


Kaka is now the most expensive footballer in history after signing to transfer to Real Madrid from AC Milan on a six-year deal.The fee is reported to be about £56m a nice £11 million more than the £45.6m Real paid for Zinedine Zidane in 2001. This works out to about $150,000 a week . Not bad in time of global recession. Or is it ever a time of recession in sports?

Check out this list of  NBA players’ salaries with the top player being at around 24 million dollars and the bottom at 14 million. Some team budgets in Formula 1 like Ferrari run between 300 to 400 million dollars.

Yesterday, West Ham United’s long-term future was secured when the Premier League club was sold to a company owned by Iceland’s largest investment bank for around $162million. Another example to consider would be Manchester City, now the richest football club on earth because of their new owners.

And what about country bids for the Olympics and the World Cup. Here in the UK, despite the dire financial climate, The FA is seeking £5 million from the government to add to its own £10 million campaign fund. Gordon Brown has been the bid’s most enthusiastic supporter, promising that he would make it his personal mission to persuade countries around the world to support the bid.

It’s hard to imagine that this kind of money is being spent in a time when huge industires like the car indusry for example are hanging by a thread and when millions of people are losing their jobs and homes (Check out the unemployment posts below). Even Hollywood has been hit by recession. So what is it about sports that makes it immune to the financial downturn? And if governments and businessmen can pay that much money on Olympic bids, clubs and players, why can’t they pull us out of recession?

18 Responses to “Why is sport immune to recession?”

  1. June 9, 2009 at 10:54

    Gladiators of the new age. Keeps dictators in power. The occasional jackpot in the Pools.

  2. 2 Meir Avrahami
    June 9, 2009 at 11:23

    I’m not sure Liverpool FC would agree judging by the feature of a few days on World service front page

  3. 3 Rob (UK)
    June 9, 2009 at 11:48

    I don’t see a problem with sports stars being paid so much. If the sport makes a lot of money, someone’s got to take home a large salary, and it makes more sense for it to be the person playing the game.

  4. 4 steve
    June 9, 2009 at 13:35

    I think sports where there are lots of games can suffer, like Baseball. The Washington Nationals cannot even give away tickets these days. Given there are over 120 games in the season, if people don’t buy tickets, the teams cannot make much revenue, unlike US football or basketball where there aren’t as many games and the seasons are shorter.

    People like being entertained on a daily basis, because don’t need to buy a car on a daily basis, hence why you cannot compare the two.

  5. 5 steve
    June 9, 2009 at 13:52

    Also, if the players didn’t make all that money, it would just be the owner having that much more money. Is that the alternative you want?

  6. 6 Heitor Matimele
    June 9, 2009 at 14:08

    Taking into account that the players have a short professional life, I find it correct they earn large amounts of money. sorry for my poor english, I’m from Mozambique (our official language is Portuguese).

  7. 7 deryck/trinidad
    June 9, 2009 at 15:19

    Sports are a form of recreation in times of stress. The higher the stress levels the greater the need for recreation. We also get to our live vivaciously through our teams and players and this adds great excitement to our daily lives.

  8. 8 Anthony
    June 9, 2009 at 15:57

    Sports lovers love sports to escape reality. No doubt when the world is looking down, they would retreat into the fantasy realm of sports. That’s why they will continue to bring in the cash, the same reason alcoholics keep drinking when the chips are down.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  9. 9 globalcomedy
    June 9, 2009 at 16:11

    They’re immune because players and their agents know that somebody will always pay their asking price. If one club says no, somebody else will. The players will say the owners are bloody rich as it is. So why can’t we have our fair share?

  10. 10 UMOH AMOS (Ondo State, Nigeria)
    June 9, 2009 at 16:20

    Sports in my opinion, is in a class of its own.

    No matter how steep the recession in the world is, there are certain industries that WILL NEVER be affected, at least not until every other industry the world has been hit. Examples here include the Sports, Cigarette, and the Beer and Liquor industry among others.

    Human beings being what they are, will always find a way to satisfy their inner carvings at any time, no matter what tune the economy is dancing to. In fact the tendency is that the more the economy tends to bite, the more people tend to get inclined to these addictions and sports, unfortunately is one of such Human addictions.

  11. 11 Chuck
    June 9, 2009 at 17:40

    “And if governments and businessmen can pay that much money on Olympic bids, clubs and players, why can’t they pull us out of recession? ”

    Two reasons for that.
    A. they are not spending THEIR money, they are spending yours.
    B. Read a bit of hstory. Rulers and big boys of Rome (as it was failing and fallng) pushed for the “Arena and the Gladiators” as it kept the commoners minds off reality. They are doing the same today and the commoners now as then are buying into it. Seems the parallels between Rome and most of USA-Brits is very close, they even started to live off imports, had lower end for common work and were somewhat dumbed down as to reality, and the “arena’s-hero’s worship” distracted enough, as they dumbed down, class and real worth distribution increased, them being “fan”, kept them from reality of the world.. Sound familiar?

  12. June 9, 2009 at 18:13

    It’s the immorality of it all…the greed, cable coverage, power, sponsorship deals, bets and gambling. It’s a lucrative network of winners vs losers.

  13. 13 Tom K in Mpls
    June 9, 2009 at 19:27

    The answer to this is the same as the answer to another question: why is the last business to die in a dying town the local bar?

  14. 14 Joseph A. Migliore
    June 9, 2009 at 19:41

    The European Soccer league, should not be impacted by the global financial crisis or the recession.

    Top salaries for players have traditionally been the norm. Its during these difficult economic times that we need the European Soccer league, strong, exciting and just as competitive as ever, it offers the fans a great escape from the recession! It time to enjoy the game of Soccer.

    Besides, next year the World Cup will take place in South Africa, and everyone globally will be focused on the world’s most viewed sporting event, suddenly players salaries, will not matter so much.

  15. 15 Mukolo sikazwe
    June 9, 2009 at 20:11

    in zambia sport, particularly football is immune to the recession. this evident by the fact that our president rupiah banda is giving more attention to the national team world cup qualifiers than the current nationwide strike by teachers and health workers, a problem that has gone ignored by our president

  16. June 9, 2009 at 22:19

    Sports is not immune to the recession. In fact all sports deserves to collapse. The people have put too much emphasis on sports.

  17. 17 Robert
    June 10, 2009 at 15:22

    In part it is because the sports lovers will always be willing to pay because they will always want to watch the game. But also it because why people pay the money changes from boom time to recession time.

    During the boom times people pay for sports coverage and tickets as a luxury item almost to show off how well they are doing. During recession, people pay for things like sports packages on TV because they can provide a year of a cheap nights in during the week watching the game. The money comes in for different reasons and through different channels, but it still comes in.

    Another factor is that television deals, in soccer for example, are worked out over periods like 5 years. Therefore they can cover a whole boom and bust cycle. This gives clubs a degree of certainty over that portion of their income that allows them to make big deals in bad times.

  18. 18 globalcomedy
    June 29, 2009 at 19:43

    As long as someone will pay a footballer’s salary demands, it’s not “too much money.”

    Fans love to give clubs stick about the money the pay players. Is anybody forcing the team owners to pay these outrageous salaries? Also, I seriously doubt that all of these fans would stop going to matches. That’s the ONLY way to get clubs to change.

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