Money Well Spent?The professional sports industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. In 2005, Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal estimated the sports business industry to be $213 billion. Most of this figure is made up of professional sports, with a small amount of the makeup coming from the college ranks. In comparison, this number is more than twice the size of the U.S. auto industry and seven times the size of the movie industry. Critics say that the U.S. in general is devoting too much time and money to this huge industry. To support this, we can examine the makeup of the sports industry, rising prices, TV contracts, the influx of new stadiums and arenas, and the gambling on professional sports.
We can first start off with the makeup of the pro sports industry. The table to the left displays the breakdown of the categories and the amount of money that is spent on sports in the U.S.
A major reason for these huge numbers is the consumer. Spectator spending alone accounts for $26.17 billion, or 13.4% of the sports industry. The reason people spend so much money on professional sports is because of the concept of utility. That is, we choose to spend our money on a product or service because we get a certain amount of use, pleasure, or satisfaction from consuming it. The demand for professional sports is staggering. For example, the Green Bay Packers have a waiting list for season tickets that exceeds 60,000 (Glickman). Since the demand is so large, owners are willing to provide more professional sports for the fans to consume. The result has been an amazing amount of professional teams in our country. The four large leagues (NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB) consist of 122 teams.