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Professional Sports Industry Changes for the Future

In: Business and Management

Submitted By nriley2488
Words 3371
Pages 14
Table of Contents

Future of League Drafts and Age Entry…………………………………….4

Changes in drug testing policies in professional sports…………….7

League Finances……………………………………………………………………..9

Player Safety…………………………………………………………………………..11

ABSTRACT Professional sports are leagues that are made for the best of the best athletes in sports. Once a player leaves the collegiate level of sports and moves into the professional level, he is now competing every day for his job. Owners try hard to build their team from the ground up. When a team is struggling, owners try to find new solutions to bring in team revenue and on the other hand when a team is successful owners try hard to keep players by offering large contracts that they can afford. To keep order on teams, leagues have strict drug testing policy that keeps players healthy and allows the playing field to be fair. Leagues make changes for the better of the players and the fans. In order to market effectively leagues do what it takes to allow more access to the fans by using technology. Commissioners take notice on feedback from players and fans in order to make the sport safer to play and fun to watch.

When watching a professional sports game, we do not see the orchestrating job of the league commissioner, team owners, and players. From players entering the league at a young age from college, they need to be ready to compete for their position and take in all the rules the league hand out. Super star players carry so much pressure to bring financial success to the team and the. It is important for the owner of the team to play those players for leadership and talents. When a player or players feel they are not getting paid enough for what they bring to the table, they will hold themselves out of training and competition and could results in lockouts happen. But order needs to be set when it comes to salary caps, drug policies, and other league violations. These athletes are role models and any negative actions that a player does will hurt the reputation of the team and the league. Professional sports will continue to evolve with the fan’s desires and the players’ concerns. Without the evolution of this business, professional sports will no longer be a desire to be apart of.


The term “tanking” has been used quite often in the last 10 years. Tanking refers to teams that lose initially in order to have the best chance in the draft lottery to get the first pick of the first round (Deeks, 2014). When teams pursue that first round pick it keeps hopes high in drafting the best player in the eligible class of that year. Even though teams do not have immediate success they are hoping to build around that great young player. Age entry is another big topic, especially in the NBA. The NBA has a rule where a player must do one year in college in order to advance to the professional level. There are however certain players that could not be eligible to play in college due to academics or the player has no interest in pursuing college and therefore that player plays a season internationally until he turn 19. There is a big debate about age ready athletes for the big leagues. One side says leagues should allow athletes to enter at any age after high school; whereas, the other side says leagues should allow athletes to enter after 20 years of age or after two years in college. In the professional sports at the end of the season, the leagues host a draft lottery. In this draft lottery usually the team with the most losses would get the number one draft pick. In the NBA for instance, eight of the top teams go to the playoff and the remainder of the 32 teams fill slots to be in the running for that top prospect in that years’ draft. Teams that barely miss the playoffs have the lowest percentage of winning that elusive number one over all pick. What teams now tend to do is, when there is no chance of making the playoffs, teams will start to lose games intentionally. This strategy brings a bad view to the fans, especially fans of that particular city that is “tanking”. League officials have brought up the discussion about punishing teams that tank or changing how the draft lottery is orchestrated. There are instances where this strategy works. For example, in 2011 the Indianapolis Colts were the last place team in the NFL after a year before being known as one of the top teams in the league under a Hall of Fame Quarterback Payton Manning. During their horrible year Manning was out with a season ending injury. The Colts turned their eye towards a college athlete that would be eligible to play in the NFL the next year. In the NCAA football there was an up and coming great Quarterback named Andrew Luck who played for Stanford University. The organization took notice of his talented and indirectly told the players and coaches to “tank”. The team that year did not win their first game until week 14 out of the 16 games they played. However they won week 14 and week 17, which put them in second for last and almost missed a chance to get their player that they wanted (Wells, 2011). The Colts were low enough to draft Luck as the 2nd over all pick. In the next years Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts have been a winning each year just shy of making the championship game. As well as this strategy works for some teams other teams continue to find themselves struggling. The NBA team Philadelphia 76ers have been “tanking” for 4 years now. Each year they draft great college prospects and the players do not live up to expectations each year. The 76ers once were a great big market team and now they are having trouble getting there winning days back. One reason why this strategy of “tanking” does not work in the NBA is because the age entry requirement allows players in the league at the age of 19 and with only one year of college. The young rookies have not had the chance to mature and build talent for the NBA and when much is asked from them, the responsibility becomes too grand. Moving the age requirements to an older age would be a better decision and marketing move for the NBA. In the MLB and NFL they have strict age entry requirements, which helps college athletes mature before they enter into the major league. In the MLB newly players go through a series of minor leagues and earn their way up to the major leagues. The NFL requires college athletes to play three years in college before declaring to turn pro.

CHANGES IN DRUG TESTING POLICIES IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS Preforming Enhancing Drugs have always found its way into professional sports. These drugs can help athletes perform better, heal quicker, and grow stronger to name a few benefits. One of the most popular drugs in sports is Human Growth Hormones also known, as “HGH. The drugs have a negative affect too, which bring harm physically and mentally in the long run (, 2015) Testing for these drugs have become harder and harder to identify. In some leagues now instead of testing the urine of the athlete, they are now testing for these drugs in the blood. Punishments are becoming stricter to provide order in the leagues and to keep a positive image around the sports world. These drug tests are usually randomized tests and can detect the drugs from as early as 14 days. The NFL, NBA, MLB, and the NHL all have a strict anti-doping policy. Each organization has their set of punishments when a player violates these rules. In 1983 the NBA began to test for Performance Enhancing Drugs (University Alliance, NA) and the league continues to improve on drug testing and broadening the drug list that will be tested. Starting in the 2015-2016 season the league will start to test athletes by blood testing. This will shorten the gap between players that have taking drugs but still pass and a test being positive. If a player fails the test once he is suspended for 20 games, on the second violation the player is suspended for 45 games, and on the third violation the player will be banned from the league ( The NFL implemented their drug testing policy in 1987 and relied on urine samples to test PEDs until in 2014 when the NFL started to test the players’ blood to detect HGH. Each team has to test 10 players at random. With the large number of testing in the league it is hard for players pass a test that has recently taking drugs. NFL judges marijuana differently than all other drugs. This league is the only other league to judge a drug differently than the others. The first punishment puts the player on a 90 counseling which is considered stage 1. Each stage punishments become harsher and which results in more suspensions. The toughest testing in professional sports would the drug testing in the MLB. This league conducts a test called Carbon Isotope Ratio (CIR) blood testing which started in 2003. MLB came under great scrutiny after the steroid era in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Big names like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in the 1900s and Barry Bond, Alex Rodriguez, and Ryan Bruan in recent years gave the MLB a bad name. By lying about not using steroids and PEDs and then eventually were all found guilty. Though drug testing is not completely fool proof, tests will become harder to pass if the player has taking any drugs in the past 90 days. In the NHL the new Collective Bargaining Agreement states that all players are tested twice a year without no notice. First punishment is a suspension for 20 games, second punishment is a 60 game suspension is, and third punishment is the player will be banned from NHL. The only different policy that the NHL implements is that once a player has been banned for two years, the player can try to reapply into league. Though this is a gracious punishment in this league, it does allow more wiggle room if the player is young enough and without injury to continue his career in the NHL, whereas in other leagues once you have committed that last violations there are no comebacks. When player is convicted of using drugs in professional sports it will always weigh down the league that that player represents. The player, the team, and the league always take a negative hit. Especially if the player is a big name player the team’s ticket sales my drop and financially that one players’ decision could be a negative domino effect upon the organization. LEAGUE FINANCES Today the professional sports industry is a thriving business. Though certain teams and players may have great success now, does not mean that these organizations and players will continue to bring that great financial success. Issues in professional sports may not be the same 20 years from now, therefore managers and owners should always be knowledgeable and ready for change (Masteralexis, Barr, Hums, 2012). Managers and owners need to know the fan base and understand what the fans want. TV ratings for the regular season and post season continue to rise, and when that happens teams and organizations see the financial gains. If the players feel that they are not being paid the fair amount that they deserve, league wide lockouts and player holdouts tend to occur. Leagues have different solutions to deal with financial challenges when it comes to players’ contracts. There are hard salary caps and soft salary caps, which are guidelines to help team organize their money and distribute accordingly. Without a strong fan base, teams would not be able to thrive financially nor be able to pay and bring the certain players needed to grow a strong fan base. When teams tend not to bring success to the city, which they are representing, that particular organization feels the negative impact as well. For example, when Cleveland Cavaliers player, Lebron James left his hometown team to play for Miami Heat in 2010, not only did the team struggle but also so did the city’s economy. James is known to be a walking economy. LeRoy Brooks, a professor in Finances at the Boler School of Business noticed the economic trend of the city of Cleveland and based on ticket sales, downtown business, and local TV contracts he predicts that the city would see a $495 million a year revenue because of James (Buckley, 2014). There is a direct impact from new jobs in downtown Cleveland, which brings about $50 million a year. When a player with such great impact to the city comes to an end of his contract, the organization does what ever they could do to keep the player. Players understand the financial gains that teams and the leagues receive from ticket sales, TV contracts, video games, jersey sales, and much more. If a player feels that are not getting paid fairly, the play voices his opinion by sitting out. For example, NFL player Kam Chancellor who plays for the Seattle Seahawks decided to not participate in the team training camp, preseason games, and a few regular season games. Chancellor brought great success to the defensive team and because of his great talent he demanded to be paid more. However the Seahawks organization did not budge and contract negotiations have ceased until the end of the 2015-2016 season (Bell, 2015). When the players as a whole feels they are not getting paid the fair amount that the leagues are bringing in then a league lockout happens. Owners usually pay players nearly 60% of team revenue but these owners would like to pay players 40%. This was one of the main reasons the NBA found itself battling with the National Basketball Players Association in 2011 when the players decided to go on a strike and in professional sports, a league wide lockout. The NBA has a “soft cap” meaning that teams are encouraged to spend no more than $58 million per year and when a team goes beyond that mark the team pays a luxury tax. When one team has multiple players that are demanded more money it is hard to play that player if the owners want more money themselves. It is harder for small cities like Milwaukee Bucks and the Minnesota Timberwolves to hold on to great players because the smaller markets meaning the owners cannot afford to pay the players as much as if the played in New York or Los Angeles. In the middle of the 2011 season the NBA and NBPA came to an agreement on the 50-50 split between players and owners and the raising of salary cap.
PLAYER SAFETY Many professional athletes suffer injuries that withhold the athlete from playing a couple games to career ending. When athletes and their agents are in contract negotiations they take into account the physical and mental stress on the athlete. Players go through so much mental and physical stress that it takes a toll on the players’ body and family that if player does not get the amount of money he desires the he will less likely want to stay and play for that team. Player injuries have risen throughout the years because the amount of physical play and the talent in the leagues. In the NFL the athlete were concerned with the amount of games played throughout the week. NFL games have always been on Sunday and Monday night. Monday night football features one or two games to boost rates during the primetime hours on national television. When the league decided to install a Thursday night games there was negative feedback on the players’ perspective. On the owners and league official’s side they see financial gain from advertisement and television ratings (Riddle, 2012). Coaches and players see it as less time to prepare the game as well as prepare physically for those that might of experienced recent injuries. In the NBA players have issues with multiple games in a row. Just as the players in the NFL, the NBA players had the same feedback on why they disliked the back-to-back games. This year however, the league has heard the feedback of the players and has made it a priority to schedule less back-to-back games. Games have been reduced to 17 games per team from 19 back-to-back games. Long distance back-to-back games have been reduced from 111 games down to 85 games. Usually the better teams are the teams that have the burden to play these back-to-back games because the television ratings (Zillgitt, 2015). With more of the negative player feedback and the increase of injuries we will see these leagues have less desire to make money and more attention towards player safety. The professional sports segment is a business, and with a business in order to be successful the company needs to change with time. With the changing of drug testing, better understanding of player safety, and focusing on what it takes to keep play financial content, and making adjustments to drafts into the league these are all aspects in sports that we will see change for the better. As marketing in professional sports increases we will the base of international fans grow and television rating increase. This industry knows that fans enjoy more access to the players and with better technology we will see more of that (Longman, 2001). Owners and league officials need to take into consideration the players needs, because without the players the teams and cities would not bring in the financial success the organization needs to thrive.

Bell, J. (September 17, 2015) Kam Chancellor’s holdout stirs discomfort for both sides. USA Today. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from

Buckley, J. (October 18, 2014) Will Lebron show Cleveland the money? CNBC. Retrieved October 9, 2015 from

Deeks, M. (January 10, 2014) What actually is tanking, and what NBA teams do it? SB NATION. Retrieved September 25, 2015 from

Longman, J. (2001) Sports us technology and L.L.C. to hold on to fans. New York Times, Late Edition

Masteralexis, L. P., Barr, C. A., & Hums, M. A. (2012). Principles and practice of sport management (4th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Page 75.

Riddle, R. (October 11, 2012) A former player’s perspective on Thursday nigh football. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from

University Alliance (NA) PED used in sports: history of performance enhancing drugs. Villanova University. Retrieved October 9, 2015 from (2015) Effects of PEDs. Retrieved September 25, 2015 from (April 16, 2015) NBA, NBPA to add HGH into anti-drug program. Retrieved October 9, 2015 from

Wells, B. (December 12, 2011) Another columnist thinks the Colts are intentionally tanking the 2011 season. Blue Stampede. Retrieved October 8, 2015 from

Zillgitt, J. (August 15, 2015). NBA schedule more player friendly with fewer back-to-back games. USA Today Sports. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from

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