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Updated on May 10, 2015

Professional sport is on highest level of development more than ever before. For last 30 years, number of professionals in sport has been constantly rising and many sports which were more intended to amateurs are today filled with professionals. There are many positive results of professional sport development: increased results, much higher levels of fitness, breaking world records, increased popularity of sport and healthy lifestyle. But, there is the other side of that coin. For last couple of decades, one thing influenced on professional sport more than anything else and that’s MONEY. This factor caused chain of different reactions in professional sport and changed its face. Instead of being designed for fun, health promotion and developing sportiness, professional sport looks like financial industry today. You could notice on a field and outside the field how money influenced on training, behavior and relationships inside professional sport.

Profit on first place

Everybody who follows sports realized that professional sport is business activity. Sport clubs are organized like companies with their administrations consisted of dozens of managers who are interested only in pure profit. Coaches are not just “coaches” anymore, they are also managers and they not only train athletes, but also take care about financial side of team leading. And let’s not forget they business partners, managers of athletes. All this made atmosphere where athletes are treated almost like goods which need to be sell at any cause. So don’t be surprised when you see some moderate or even bad players in good teams. Every good has its buyer, and that rule is also widely respected in professional athletes market.

More and more clubs are owned by corporations and individuals who don’t have any connections to any sport. Even that is good solution for clubs in financial crisis; don’t forget that that’s just one more business activity for that company or individual. So someone who bought a club could close or sell that club one day without concerning it fans. Similar events happened in Europe in some clubs in Romania, Switzerland and others, and don’t forget occasionally moving of clubs in USA from one city to another.

Question is: why professional sports (especially team sports) are so profitable business? Well, for example, cost of tickets is always higher than they should be. Why tickets are for some matches are higher than others? In every match there are almost same expenses for that happening. That’s that business side where owners of a club saw their opportunity to earn big profit.

Commercials are also one of the most profitable activities in sport. Today’s stadiums and TV broadcast look like advertising space and source of big income. And there are of course numbers of betting companies which are often involved in sponsorship of many clubs.

Show business

It is noticeable that professional and even private life of athletes is often under of different kinds of media. Even some sports media are occasionally behave like tabloids when they report about relations between managers, athletes and other people in this area. Rumors are more often used in sport news than before. And when some incident happens, whole hell broke loose. Participants in those incidents are exposed to several of unpleasantness, accusations and high tensions. All this drag lot of attention of publicity and more popularity because even negative popularity is still popularity. Of course, all this make influence on atmosphere in a team and latter on a game.

Previous factor mentioned above, resulted even deeper attention on life of individuals who are involved in professional sport. Personal life of athletes and especially good ones, become subject of tabloids which don’t have any connection point to the sport. Even people who don’t follow professional sport are interested in athlete’s private life, so there is paradox that some people recognize some athletes from tabloid press and reality shows and not from some match or sport news.

Not so sporty behavior

Chasing a win at any cause totally erased old saying: “it is important to participate and not win”. Of course it is important to win, but at what price? More wins you have, the more money you will earn because your team will have bigger value. That’s all ok, but big tensions in game could lead to unsporty behavior and tactics. That is very noticeable in soccer, where incidents between players are often and faking fouls and injuries become so common. When that becomes so frequently, it could damage the beauty of a game. Although there are penalties for that kind of behavior, incidents like these are on the rise.

Unhealthy sport life

Everyone will say that sport is equal to health and that is true. But today you will live longer if you play sports recreationally than professionally. Although many people think that life span of professional athletes is longer, it is actually same or even shorter in some cases than life span of average person. That’s because professional athletes are exposed to various difficult and grueling trainings and lifestyle. Today’s sport professionals are on much higher level of fitness in any sport than athletes in the past. That is result of much more trainings, more supplements and reaching maximums of personal fitness and health. Average athlete in any sport discipline is involved in much bigger variety of training sessions than before. Training of professional athletes became big science. Unfortunately for many athletes, big results mean big sacrifice not only in time but also in health. High intense workouts and competitions leave mark on organism. Percentage of athletes with injuries and other health problems is high. Joint problems, muscle injuries, broken bones are just some of the risks to which they are exposed. All that effort also leaves mark on health of heart too. There were several cases where people died during training or even match. Even in some sports which were not so famous by injuries like for example, tennis, is taking its first victims of different injuries, from muscle strains to ligaments problems.

Other factors in sports

Because sport became so popular and profitable, many outside factors got involved in it. One of them is politics. First cases when politics involved in sports was noticed during Olympic games in Germany in 1930`s and during Olympic games in Moscow and Los Angeles. But, even in now days politics could influence in someone’s participation by sanctions and political tensions. Also, some former athletes are involved in politics in order to become significant political figures. Developing sports in one country mostly depends of government and that is fact in whole world. Every nation’s government is responsible for developing conditions for both professional and amateur sports.

Most unpopular factor that is already influencing a sport is violence. Occasional violent incidents on stadiums and outside of them made consequences for clubs and some athletes.


Professional sport is moving on the path that is shaped under influence of different factors (mostly financial). Standards which professional athletes need to achieve will be even more strenuous and harder. That could lead to shorter careers in professional sport because fatigue and satiation. That will also result bigger results, breaking new world records and probably new sport disciplines. One thing is certain, world of professional sport is big market and business that make dozens of billions of revenues each year no matter what happen.

© 2015 Nick Philips


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