SPORTS AND MONEY
Are you a true professional sports fan? Do you have your favorite teams and favorite players? Do you follow their performance on sports networks?
I don’t want to blow your ass or become a fire extinguisher, but unfortunately, professional sports has become a business that is entirely based on money.
The most popular sport in the world is soccer, known here as soccer. Currently, the big football crowd, the World Cup, is taking place in Qatar, a country ruled by despots who are extremely rich thanks to oil.
To host this competition, the leaders of Qatar spent 220 billion dollars (220 billion dollars) to build seven stadiums, some of which will be dismantled after the competition. For the construction of these stadiums, tens of thousands of workers were imported from various poor countries and forced to work conditions worthy of slavery. In fact, several hundred, if not thousands, of these workers died.
We also built a lot of tourist infrastructure, and to ensure that the stadiums are full during the competition, we invited thousands of fans, paid all the expenses (airplane, hotels, meals, tickets, etc.). All this in order to give a positive image to the whole world.
However, Qatar is known as a country where individual rights are violated. This is the case for women who can be stoned for infidelity, for homosexuals who can be imprisoned, even executed, etc.
But if the World Cup was awarded to Qatar in 2010 when everyone knew how bad the conditions were and still are, it is because the country had enough financial resources to satisfy the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) bonuses.
FIFA is an ultra-rich organization that does not fall under any authority. Leaders are proposed by representatives of 211 national associations. More countries are represented in FIFA than in the UN (193).
The next World Cup, in 2026, will be held in three countries: Canada, the United States and Mexico because it has become too expensive for one country. To give you an idea of FIFA’s insane demands, to hold three matches in Quebec, the Quebec government had to pay a modest sum of $300 million, or $100 million per game. Fortunately, Quebec refused.
Unfortunately, it is not only in the world of football that money has taken over sports. The same applies to hosting the Olympic Games, the costs of which are constantly increasing. Several countries have also given up on hosting the Olympic Games due to the scale of investment required.
In 2022, the Winter Games were held in Beijing, China, a city where it rarely snows. The mountains were created from scratch using artificial snow to host various ski competitions. It cost a small fortune.
But, as with FIFA, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has come to negotiate with countries led by dictators (Russia, China) who are trying to restore their image by organizing these major competitions at an astronomical cost.
IN OTHER SPORTS
Money is becoming increasingly important in other sports as well.
In hockey, our national sport, stadium names are sold to companies who pay millions to put their names on them. We introduced advertising on the boards of the rink, we added it to the ice and even to the bay windows. But now we find them on players’ helmets and jerseys like the Canadian is doing this year with the Royal Bank logo.
In Formula 1, drivers look like billboards with so many sponsor logos on their racing suits.
In recent years, athletes’ salaries have risen significantly more than inflation. Let me give you a few examples from different sports.
In NHL hockey, the top three earners are Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, who signed an eight-year contract for $100.8 million, or $12.6 million per year, Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, for $12 million per season, and Dannel Jones, also from Edmonton, for 10.5 million dollars.
In NFL football, Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill receives $38.6 million, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes receives $35.8 million, while Aaron Donald of the Los Angels Rams will have to settle for $31.7 million. As for Tom Brady, who is probably in his last year, he has already accepted a small contract of 375 million dollars for ten years on the FOX network to be a commentator.
In baseball, salaries are also reaching unimaginable heights. The top three earners are Max Scherzer, a pitcher for the New York Mets, who received $59.3 million in 2022, Mike Trout, a center fielder for the Angels, pocketed $39 million, while Corey Seager, a shortstop for the Texas Rangers, had to settle for with $38.5 million.
I could cite many other such cases in other sports such as golf and tennis, but I believe I have already given you enough.
And in the meantime, we find a way to cry against Justin Trudeau’s $365,200 a year salary and François Legault’s $196,193.
See all opinions of Piero Dutil
THOUGHTS OF THE SEVEN
I dedicate the thought of the week to sports fans: