Right now the biggest controversy in sports is that of the Bay Area Laboratories Co-Operative (BALCO). BALCO executives reportedly sent shipments of steroids to players, including Barry Bonds who currently holds the record for most homeruns in a season. The question is will this affect the amount of people watching the games, and will companies investing in the sport reroute their money elsewhere?
Last year testing revealed that 5-7 percent of players were using steroids. As of now a player who is found to be using 5 times will only receive a year ban and a $100,000 fine. Major League Baseball Players Association's officials have been criticized for pushing for the lenient version of the sport's first drug testing policy a year and a half ago. Because more than 5 percent tested positive, players will be subject to unannounced testing for the first time this year.
"Baseball knows that the situation needs to be fixed, but the league can't impose a more meaningful policy without the union's agreement," said Bob Cramer, vice president of global sponsorships for MasterCard, which used Bonds in its "Memorable Moments" campaign.
MasterCard has two years left on a deal signed in 1997 to become the official credit card of the league. "Hopefully, the union realizes that a better drug testing plan will be a lot more valuable to the league's fans and sponsors."
David Hill, Fox Sports chairman and CEO said, "If some of the sport's biggest names are revealed to have used steroids people are going to be saddened by it, but I don't think people are going to stop watching." Currently fox is in its fourth year of a six year $2.5 million contract to broadcast games.
"The business health of the game is on pretty strong footing," said Jerry Colangelo,