Critical Response, Chapter 4
I found Chapter 4, “Zombie Teams and Zombie Owners” quite fascinating. I thought the title of chapter 4 was very clever and I wanted to know more about the issue.
The chapter referred zombie owners as owners that have turned the spectacle of sport into another asset to generate more money in their pockets. This can be accomplished through obtaining subsidies from the community or lack of ambition to spend money and make their team competitive. As a result, the question that I thought of while reading the chapter was; Why do leagues allow owners and teams to get away with profit maximizing with no implications?
The more I thought about the question, it became clear to me that there should be policies implemented in major sport leagues to prevent owners and teams from purposely not putting forth a good product. In my opinion, some teams have gotten away with it for too long generating revenue from a loyal fan base. When I thought of this concept, the Toronto Maple Leafs are a great example. The Toronto Maple Leafs have such a unique situation where they did not make the playoffs for 9 seasons and still sold out every game. It was not till the recent ownership change the urgency to present a winning and an eventual contender for the Stanly Cup. I believe different owners have different priorities, some want to win others want to make lots of money, while some owners want the prestige of owning a professional sports franchise.
Owners have to make a profit as a sports team is a massive venture, but not to extent where the owners are making more money then what the team is making on the field. There needs be a fine line where teams can not be profit maximizing by not putting a competitive team on the field. Without competitive balance in a league, fans lose interest and the entire league suffers as a whole. I believe professional sports teams need to have policies implemented like the NHL and NFL, as they have a salary-cap floor so teams do not minimize their costs. This needs to be done to protect fans from ongoing years of watching their favorite team without seeing any progress.
I believe another issue is subsidies for sport facilities. It is obvious that owners want obtain subsidies because it puts less risk on them and more risk on the community financially. I believe that the cities should be more accountable when giving the owner the funds to build these stadiums. I personally believe this should stop, as most owners have the funds to build the stadium themselves and risk their own money instead of the tax payers.
Zirin, D. (2013). Game over how politics has turned the sports world upside down. (pp. 73-90). New York: The New Press.