Issues in Professional Sports


We try to expose our students to an array of topics in the Intro to Sports Administration course. This past module looked at professional sports and students were asked to debate one of four different topics. Posted here is a sampling of that debate.

Yes, Salary Caps Are Necessary

By: Marcia Lovett

There has been non-stop debate on whether salary caps are necessary in professional sports. The topic of salary caps has caused many heated conversations on the topic. Each side presenting their reasons to support their stand on this issue. I am here to provide reasons to support the use of salary caps. A salary cap is the maximum amount of money that can be paid in salaries to all members of a professional sports team. The maximum amount is the collective total of everyone’s salary. An article from Investopedia states that enforcing a limit to how much a team can spend on their athletes has been around at least since the Great Depression. This implies that this debate has been ongoing for a very long time.

There are several reasons to support the continued use of salary caps. According to USA Today, one advantage of having salary caps is that salary caps could help small-market teams because having salary maximums can prevent big-market teams from acquiring all of the available talent on one team. This could create a “sports monopoly” where the teams with the money would thrive and the teams without would wither away and disappear.  Additionally, spreading the talent around increases competition by leveling the playing field. Mark Wallace believes that increased competition sparks regional and national interests because it can attract a larger television audience. This in turn attracts advertisers (with deep pockets) that are willing to sign lucrative contract which will generate more revenue. Larger viewing audiences draw advertisers that are willing to pay top dollar to advertise their products the viewing audience.

Salary caps can dictate how a player is paid. Although the player had signed a multi-million dollar contract, they may not began to receive the “big” checks for a year or two (or three). This could encourage the player to continue to play at their best to work towards the big payday that they have always dreamed of and draw the crowds to witness the athletic ability of the athletes.

There are some very good reasons to support the continued use of salary caps in professional sports. Trying to ensure that there is equity amongst the various teams is beneficial to the team’s fans and surrounding community. A fan base that is proud of their team will show their support for their team by purchasing team gear and attending the sporting events.

Salary caps are good. Salary caps are bad. Salary caps are needed. No, they are not. The debate goes on…

USA Today. (2004, September 1). Pros, cons of salary caps. Retrieved from

Neiger, C. (2010, September 28). How Salary Caps Changed Sports. Investopedia. Retrieved from

Wallace, Maxwell. (nd). The Advantages of Salary Caps. Chron. Retrieved from

No, Salary Caps Are Not Necessary

By: Lauren Bluhm

I do not believe professional sports should have a salary cap. The first thing that comes to my mind about player salaries is if a team wants to pay you that much money to be on their team, then you must be doing something right. Baseball has shown us that when there is no salary cap, teams are more aggressive to go after the players they want in order to build the impeccable team they desire. With this being said during free agency you can expect to see some player salary contracts soar because of how coveted they are.

There are some people believe salary caps would take the fun out of the game and we would always have the same team winning the championship. The MLB has proven this to be untrue. According to the article “We Don’t Need Salary Caps,” over the past 11 years, nine different teams have won the World Series. This shows that you do not need salary caps for your league to survive and they really have no affect on creating competition. In reality salary caps really only affects on profits of ownership (Perry, 2013).

Even though I believe players should be paid based on their success, money doesn’t always buy success. Salary caps wouldn’t necessarily hurt the players, but are they getting all that they are worth? At the end of the day players will still make money aside from what they receive in their contract. Highly recognized athletes, who are usually the ones making the big bucks, also make money aside from what they receive in their contract. Players make plenty of money doing advertising, by having their apparel sell in stores.

The public may be under the impression that higher player contracts on their team means higher ticket prices. This is also a misconception that leads people to be more in favor of player salary caps. Ticket prices are determined by the consumer demand, not by how much a team wants to pay their players.

Whether or not there are salary caps really only affect team owners and add a little spice to trades. If the MLB were to establish a player salary cap the only ones really benefiting from the change would be the owners.

Yes, Fantasy Sports is Good for Professional Sports

By: Aron Adamovich

Fantasy sports are good for the professional sporting industry in many aspects in regards to ratings, attendance, and sponsorships. More people than ever are involved in fantasy leagues or daily fantasy sports, which is the growing trend in the United States.  Picking daily fantasy players based on  skills and match up in any sport is an easy way for sports fans to get involved in every game, while potentially making money off of their players production.  Fans are no longer only drawn to favorite local sports teams, as daily fantasy sports (DFS) has opened up the eyes of people to watch teams from all over the country.  Up to date statistics on I-phones have revolutionized the way fantasy sports are played and the manner in which people view them.  Professional sports teams have reaped the benefits of fantasy sports recently, the only downside is fans constantly checking their phones during live events instead of watching the event itself.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is a big advocate for fantasy sports as he showed in 2015 by becoming an equity investor in FanDuel. “If there is a statistic that puts dollar signs in the heads of league commissioners, it’s this one: Fans consume 40% more sports content across all media once they start playing FanDuel.” In professional sports, money is what makes everything move, so when owners see these statistics about increased fan consumption, they will get on board with fantasy sports in a heartbeat.  I think the draw to fantasy sports is also displayed by the amount of professional athletes who are involved.  Forming fantasy leagues with your teammates, while following which player has the most daily points can be a fascinating experience for those directly involved in the game.

Fantasy sports are at the highest level of participation that we have ever seen, with daily fantasy sports becoming popular in golf majors, NBA, and MLB.  Of the 56.8 million fantasy players, more than 40 million play fantasy football, which is by far the most popular fantasy sport.  The NFL leads the way in fantasy interest due to their short season of 16 games with games only being played once a week and their overall popularity across the United States. When playing fantasy sports it really can become a skill of what player to choose and knowing when to choose them. The NFL will recognize the importance of fantasy sports as people continue to tune in to random games in hopes of their fantasy players having break out games and winning money for them.  NFL RedZone is one of the beneficiaries of fantasy sports due to their showing of all touchdowns and big plays every Sunday, as they bounce from game to game.  Fantasy sports will continue to grow in popularity in the coming years as more females and youth are getting involved, which should help professional teams viewing numbers.

No, Fantasy Sports is Not Good for Professional Sports

By: Zach Bryon

As an avid fantasy football guy, it kills me to say that I don’t believe fantasy sports is good for the professional sports industry. It is completely fine to have a group of 10 of my buddies, putting $20 each in a pot and the winner takes it all. But once you have NFL players having their fantasy teams, or involved in daily fantasy sports, then it becomes a problem. Fantasy sports, if putting money on the line, is gambling. I don’t care what anyone says; I was in a $100 buy in league, and every game (ask my girlfriend), I was a roller-coaster of emotions, because I felt like I had so much riding on these games. If you have football players having fantasy teams, and having buy ins in fantasy leagues, they can potentially control the outcomes, which in itself is scary not only for fantasy owners, but to the real NFL owners, who put millions and millions of dollars into these players to perform. Instead of rooting for one singular team, I find myself rooting for one or two players from many NFL teams. I found myself at a Lions game, rooting the Lions to victory, while hoping that Jordy Nelson of the Green Bay Packers caught a touchdown; It becomes a total conflict of interest.

This also causes a lot of drama and hate toward players. An instant with Eagles running back Brian Westbrook proved how crazy people get over fantasy football. He took a knee at the one yard line, to secure a win, instead of running in for a touchdown, people were mad that he made the smart play to help his team win. Players have also received death threats from people whose fantasy teams lost because of a player’s poor performance. Fantasy sports have created a monster with fans, and as a fantasy football player, it kills me to say this, but fantasy football is killing the professional sports industry.


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