How could we transform professional sports leagues into worker co-ops?

With all the recent news about professional sports teams leaving their communities for more profitable venues, I've been thinking about how all these leagues (MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA) are structured (that is, in a capitalistic, top-down fashion). How could we go about reorganizing these leagues in a more democratic way that prioritizes players, fans, and their surrounding communities over profit?

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  • Daryl MacFarlane
    commented 2017-02-04 09:18:55 -0500
    The thing about most professional sports players in the US, is that they make an obscene amount of money on average, with the exception of soccer.

    here are some numbers:

    Entertainment is effectively extremely over-priced in our society. Professional sports players do not expend labor to convert raw materials into products, nor do they repair things, nor do they provide any useful service that socially benefits society. The point is, due to the nature of their career’s, they do not have to expend labor to produce a certain amount of things to sell, or spend their time offering a useful service to people. The amount of money they get is entirely based on how many people show up to their games and buy the extremely expensive tickets to those games. They are effectively selling the thin-air of what is entertaining to some people. They do not have to produce or sell individual quantities of goods and services to people, and are effectively selling something for a huge amount, that has no quantity limit attached, nor any initial cost associated with producing it (a football game, or a baseball game, etc). This goes to show that professional sports are either over-valued, or enormously over-priced in our society. but more importantly, it shows how entertainment careers, including sports careers, have an innate advantage compared to the vast majority of work out there which actually produces a good or service in society. So what could be a potential remedy to this problem? well, imagine if communities which had a sports stadium, could determine what the price should be to enter the sports stadium during a sporting event? This would be decided by the whole community, and not just professional sports organizations. This would allow the community of people to be in direct control of how their sports stadiums are utilized, and prevent teams from taking advantage of the communities sports stadium so that they become millionaires by over-charging for tickets. Or on another note, the community that controls the sports stadium, could vote to keep the ticket prices the same, but use the over-whelming majority of the money to go towards social projects elsewhere, and then pay off the teams for playing in their stadium afterwards. On another note, they could cooperative with certain sports that are under-paid in the US, like soccer, which players make on average $33k. Communities which have a soccer stadium would decide on the price of tickets just like they did with the football and baseball stadiums, but by acknowledging the fact that soccer players don’t make as much, they could adjust the price of the tickets to help the soccer players make more. The whole idea of communities controlling their own stadiums would allow the people of that community to vote on how the stadiums are utilized, since after all, stadiums are part of the community. Sports across the board could become a decent paying entertainment career, but not a vastly over-paid instant route to a millionaire sort of career.
  • Nicholas Taschereau
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-02-03 18:20:35 -0500