Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pro Sport Labor Relations

There's a lot of talk recently about labor relations in professional sports.  The NFL is planning a lockout if they don't get some concessions from the union.  MLB is worried that Albert Pujols will get a new contract that will make A-Rods' look puny. And last, but not least, the NBA is trying to speculate what impact the LeBron James fiasco will have on the future of their league.

It's hard to feel sorry for either side, management or labor.  Basically you have millionaires fighting billionaires. Labor relations are a concern of most working people.  But labor relationships in professional sports is a little bit different.  In professional sports the owners are all socialists and the workers are all capitalists.  The owners demand salary caps to keep rich owners from buying up all the good talent. They have an inverse draft system in order to share the wealth of talent.   If they should lose a good player to another team they demand compensation.  Conversely, the players want the market to set their value.  If someone is dumb enough to give a player Fort Knox because he can get a hit 3 out of every 10 at bats -- so be it.

When I am King, I'll encourage the fans to stay away from the games until the owners and the players once again realize it's just a kid's game.  If fans stop attending, there won't be so many millions to throw around.


  1. For the life of me, I can't understand why someone would pay $25 for a lanyard that has 'Raiders' printed on it.

    The economist in me is just boggled by the value that we place on sport. Why are people so willing to give up their time and hard earned money to watch people playing sport?

    That same economist has to admit, that is the value. If I was the Kings Economic Advisor, I would place large luxury taxes on all team merchandise. I would also ban the use of tax dollars spent on building stadiums, or charge the teams high rent for the use of public stadiums.

  2. Sorry King, you've lost me here. First of all, Sports owners in the Major Leagues aren't socialists. That's a misconception that does a disservice to socialists. The major sports leagues are Cartels, Monopolies that do their best to constrain competition so as to maximize profit. One of the primary ways they have done that historically is to vastly underpay their employees relative to the profit they create.

    On the flip side, professional athletes are NOT playing a "kids" game. I've watched kids play baseball, I've been a kid who played baseball. It was painful to watch compared to the beautiful game Albert Pujols plays. The same with most other sports. You're a golfer if I remember correctly? Do you compare the game you play to Tiger Woods?

    @Bart, argument from ignorance much? Just because you can't explain my motivation to enjoy watching sports doesn't make it inexplicable.

    I too am frustrated at times by the giveaways to rich owners at the public trough (for FSM sake I'm a Bengals fan...). But i try not to take that frustration out on the sports I enjoy. It's not like the local government was going to do anything useful with that money anyhow. at least we got "something" out of stadium deals, they could have just given it away.

    I really hate the implication that sports fans are some manner of rube because our choice of entertainment is somehow lowbrow. Like we're being swindled and if we'd just wise up we'd spend our time and money on something serious or "worthwhile".

    I'm a sports fan because I enjoy seeing athletes who are the best in the world do what they do. And I've been doing that since I was 4.

    A luxury tax on team merchandise? Great regressive taxation there buddy.

  3. Fans not going to games works to a certain degree, but you have to take in account corporate sponsorships. The main reason the Maple Leafs are still viable as a franchise is because a lot of the tickets are actual purchased by corporate concerns rather than actual fans. This has led to them being priced outside the reach of most people, and for a consistently losing team with a record so bad they are often referred to as the "MakeMe Laughs", to not only be viable but to be considered a money maker.

    And for all the talk of it being a kids game or not, it still is just a game.

  4. @KW Ramsey I still think that more people need to throw waffles to prove the point. I think it's effective, and will force the Maple Leafs to do something if more people do it.