Friday, May 17, 2024

The Inevitable Downfall of Professional Sports is right around the corner


In 1994, baseball took a major hit in popularity after its second major player's strike in just over a decade.  Ironically, it took a steroid-fueled home run race to bring the game back into the public consciousness.  The subsequent doping issue ruined a number of careers and will keep several of the players at the top of the home run record list out of the Hall of Fame (Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro...none of these guys are getting in, ever.)

Baseball survived the Black Sox gambling scandal of 1919, probably because it had such limited competition in the world of entertainment and because it seemed to involve only one team.  

Today, gambling has become the financial driver of televised sports.  Entire pre and post-game programs are sponsored exclusively by gambling programs- FanDuel, SportsKings, etc.  ESPN scrolls the odds for pretty much every event almost 24/7.  Gambling takes up at least as much of the ad space as alcohol, cars and medications for skin conditions and diabetes.  It's a multi-billion dollar industry fueled by an addictive behavior sold to the audience by the most familiar faces in Hollywood and sports itself (David Ortiz, what the hell are you doing shilling this crap?)

Let's be real here.  It's only a matter of time before this house of cards comes crashing down with "shocking" news of point-shaving, phantom injuries, bizarre, game-changing plays, mysterious umpire and referee calls, etc.   It's only a matter of time before a major scandal We Couldn't See Coming Because We Didn't Want To tars all of professional sports to the point that it can't recover and becomes attractive only to people who like their games as scripted as professional wrestling. 

Professional Sports has sold its soul to the drug of unlimited money flowing from the pockets of addicts.  Unless the Feds step in and ban gambling apps and the sponsorship of professional sports by gambling houses, the crash is coming, and this time, I don't think pro sports recovers.  I think it really will be the end this time.  There are just too many non-sports entertainment options out there now.  

Pro sports had a great run, but there are only so many times it can sabotage itself for quick profits before it finally kills off that golden goose.  Gambling WILL be the destruction of professional sports.  Bet on it. 

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