Sponsors and Sports

In the world of sports, everything from the cups the athletes drink from to the
stadiums they play in is up for grabs. The four major sports are a playing
field for the teams as well as major companies hoping to influence the public.
While there are some positives and negatives to sponsors, a line has to be drawn
somewhere. The four major sports, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball
Association, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League all
generate millions of dollars from sponsors each year. Individual athletes
themselves command large endorsement contracts that in many cases exceed their
own salaries. And although the heads of these sports try to limit the influence
of companies, they are still a major part of every game played. One of the more
widely known sponsors of sports is Nike. Their rivalry with Reebok and other
shoe and apparel companies is seen on television and on the playing field.
Advertising their company is the major concern when displaying their logos in
sports. Beverages, fast foods, credit cards, automobiles and a wide variety of
companies spend their money on sports related ventures. They spend big dollars
to name stadiums and arenas after their companies. Television gives these
companies even more chances to influence the public with commercials that
companies might sometimes pay up to $1 million for. The uniforms that the
players wear are now being made my different manufacturers whereas five years
ago each league had all their teams wearing the same brand. The equipment being
used is also made by different companies. No matter what is being fought for,
sponsors create good and bad influences in each sport. Major League Baseball is
recognized as the most popular sport. They also play the most games which is a
plus to sponsors. Each game is seen as a chance to spread word of their company.
But MLB seems to be the least affected team wise by sponsors. This is probably
because of the strict rules set forth and also because of recent work stoppages
and labor disputes. MLB was once the leader in innovative ideas involving
sponsors. Billboards are placed around the stadium in strategic spots that will
be noticed by fans and television. Stadiums are now being renamed by companies
willing to spend millions to have the stadium named after the company such as
3Com Park in San Francisco. These short term deals can create a problem in the
future though. Athletes are not as widely chosen for endorsement contracts as
in other sports. This is probably because many players cannot make a huge
impact on the outcome of the games. Also many young athletes are not known
because collegiate baseball is not watched as much as other collegiate sports. A
positive effect that sponsors have on Major League Baseball is that they are
trying to help restore baseball as the national pastime. Baseball needs to
regain interest with the public and sponsors are coming up with new and exciting
ideas. More players are being endorsed and commercials are reaching out to the
youth who play the sport. Money being spent by various companies is being
redistributed so that the lesser markets can receive some money. Basically
anything that can attract people to the sport is good for baseball at this
moment. A negative effect that sponsors have on baseball is not really much of a
negative. Companies are not sponsoring baseball enough. The strikes and
disputes are the reason why. But sponsors should be more of a part of baseball.
More athletes should be endorsed and more impact on teams in smaller markets
need to happen for baseball to regain popularity. The National Basketball
Association could be easily summed up concerning sponsors as shoe wars. Nike,
Reebok, Adidas, Fila and anybody else are fighting for just about every athlete
in an effort to make money. The response has the public interested in
basketball and has made basketball a stable and profitable sport. Women\'s
basketball is now picking up steam because companies are realizing that they
could make money on women too. These shoe wars have trickled down to the
collegiate level, where companies pay schools to wear their sneakers, and even
the high school level where basketball camps held yearly bring in the newest and
best talent available. A positive effect that sponsors have on the NBA is that
basketball is increasing worldwide. People like and watch the game and the
players. The majority of the public know Michael Jordan and Nike is a main
reason why. Young athletes can see their heroes and dream of playing basketball
because companies