I started at the Collegian as a sophomore majoring in public relations, working as a copy editor. I’m leaving the Collegian as a fifth-year graduating with a degree in business, working as the managing editor and writing sports columns. I wasn’t sure whether I should use my last column as a cheesy farewell, but I wanted to make it count. So instead of a “so long” column, here’s an advice column.
The U.S. economy went south in a hurry and almost every field has had to tighten its belt to get by. However, there is one area that is yet to show signs of financial despair: professional sports leagues. Pro athletes continue to rake in millions of dollars a year in salaries and millions more in endorsements, while their fans have watched 2 million jobs vanish this year in the United States.
If fans can’t afford to pay for groceries or a full tank of gas, will they continue to buy tickets, jerseys or foam fingers? Fewer fans mean lower salaries for players and lower budgets for new stadiums.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig debunked sports leagues’ quasi-immunity to tough times.
“There used to be a theory that we seemed almost to be recession proof,” Selig told Reuters. “This is clearly different.”
Selig’s pessimism was parroted by Tim Finchem, PGA Tour commissioner, who told the news service that the PGA will “suffer” in 2009.
Loyalty to one’s team is usually greater than loyalty to one’s job. A real indicator of how bad the times are will be how fans change their sports habits and behavior, if at all. If fans decide an $80 jersey isn’t as important as a week’s worth of groceries, the leagues will join the banks and car companies in the dark times.
As a poor college student, the most lavish purchase I have ever made for my teams has been a T-shirt and a blanket of some kind. So my loyalty and my behavior towards my teams won’t change very much, since I don’t have the money to buy season tickets anyway. I encourage all fans to continue their support, because the biggest concern for a sick economy is low confidence.
I’ve followed K-State and the Kansas City Chiefs through tough times before and this economy is just another rough road to travel. Luckily, baseball season will be here in no time, and who can turn down a Royals’ game for $10?
Don’t give up just yet, sports fans; the future will get better — eventually. Go State.
Owen Kennedy will be unemployed after Dec. 31. Please send donations and job offers to email@example.com.