According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), America’s sport industry’s billion-dollar revenue takes an upward trajectory annually and is likely to continue its trend out to 2017. The four most revenue generating segments in the sport industry are: 1) Gate revenues, 2) Sponsorships, 3) Media rights, 4) Merchandising.
Why would so much money be increasingly thrown into this industry? Think about it. Why do people travel to a stadium to watch games? Why do multi-billion dollar companies fight in order to sponsor an athlete or a stadium? Why do television networks compete for the rights to show particular sporting events on their networks? Why do sporting franchises find it lucrative to spend money to have an online presence with fans and sell everything from social apps to bed sheets?
Sometimes we get caught up in the largeness of it all and forget what drives or rather compels all that money to flow into the industry – talent. Athletic talent is the answer for all the questions I asked. You can go back and read them again if you like. If talent is the first answer, then the second one undoubtedly is management.
Since talent is the cream of the crop, it’s no wonder why there is pressure to put out talented performances every night. On the collegiate level coaches are quickly fired if they can’t produce in a certain number of years if they are believed to have the resources to get it done. And that time frame, for fans, seems to be getting shorter and shorter. All this pressure spills over to the athlete. That’s why collegiate sports exerts so much pressure to be great on to their athletes.
Coaches like to say that they just want the athletes to pursue excellence but we all know at the end of the day that that’s not the only thing in mind. We know that winning on a collegiate level brings with it exposure, and exposure new recruits or college attendees. At the end of the day it’s about money. Sports has become a lucrative business venture not a personal development tool. I don’t think that that is a bad thing as long as we don’t let the personal development thing get washed away in the process of getting wins.
How many times a year do we hear that some athlete who walks around with a BIG ego does something lacking character? This is a far cry away from what Teddy Roosevelt felt about sports.
For Teddy Roosevelt, the result of having sport wasn’t for revenue or contrived fame but for self-confidence and the betterment of society through the individual athletes who participated. President Roosevelt said, “Now, athletic sports, if followed properly, and not elevated into a fetish, are admirable for developing character…” This is why I think my field, sport psychology/mental training/peak performance, is necessary especially in this age. Increased money brings increased expectations which create increased pressure, and in a Ronald Reagan kind-of-logic, it trickles down to the athletes.
Understanding how the mind works is one way to help athletes increase their performance and deal with pressure and different circumstances more easier. In short it makes sure that athletes get to know how to build character and not just react to the superficial portion which tends to turn young men and women into narcissists.