Two things that have always irritated me about professional sports have been the attitudes of high profile “playmaker” pro athletes (in general) and audacity of most franchise owners (Pittsburgh Steelers’ Rooney may be the lone exception but he’s not entirely off the hook). The NFL is probably the most irritating in my mind. There is not many a day we have a media reprieve from the relentless shenanigans, felonies, whining, and center-staging by pro athletes; the dignity-reducing marketing of the franchise by owners; the building of bigger and better stadiums to house professional felons and egos.
Now a new irritant has got my goat. It is absolutely ridiculous in concept…and even more so, perhaps absurd, in practice. It has been a practice that has been around for years: buying stadium seat options, or more recently referred to as “Personal Seat Licenses”. Here’s the concept: Owners make their team’s fan pay them more money to have the right to pay more money for the right to purchase expensive season tickets. And fans people are doing this for some reason.
Professional team ownership greed is one reason why my support for college athletics has always taken precedence over any pro sport. I’ve always said my preference of college sports is because athletes play the game for the love of it, and to compete with other athletes. I realize major college athletics (D-1 schools) is a big-money business, but the underlying fact that the amateur athletes play for reasons other than fame and fortune has tempered, buffered, and/or camouflaged the business side of college athletics for me…until recently…these two “events”.
- The University of Tennessee (don’t get me started on a commentary on their new football coach here) has dipped into the NFL owner’s bag of money tricks with their long-time and alumni season ticket holders – talk about biting the hand that feeds. “Personal Seat Licenses” has raised it’s full ugly head in college sports. Ughhhhhhhhh. See The Downside of Personal Seat Licenses and Luckless Fan Strikes Back Against Seat Licenses.
- Texas Tech University Chancellor Kent Hance (should this guy be called that out in west Texas? Chancellor?) put the ultamatium on their football coach to sign a 5-year, $12.7 million contract extension…or else pack your bags. Now this is ridiculous on so many fronts: the AD got pancake-blocked on this whole deal, the “Chancellor” did the university’s athletic negotiations, the coach had to be told to become a millionaire or become a pauper…shall I go on?
Must I now throw all my sports enthusiasm towards high school athletics? At least those kids truly play the game for the love of the sport, but I’m sadden to say that high school sports is tracking the business model of pro and college sports: bring in more money! Maybe only in Texas. Maybe I get into the sport of curling….