Whether it’s the NBA, MLB, NFL, or even the NHL, there will always be flaws within sports. While some sports share multiple issues, some of the problems presented have to do with particular aspects of the game. A lot of issues don’t contain immediate solutions, while some only require a simple rule change by the commissioner. Here are some of the biggest issues within today’s sports:
NBA Super Teams Ruining Sense of Competition
The most recent NBA example of a “super team” happens to involve the 2017 Golden State Warriors, but this issue has been around the league for ages. The ’96 Bulls, 2008 Celtics, and 2011 Heat are just a few more examples of superstar-ran franchises that have dominated their respected conferences, and the numbers show they were all virtually unstoppable during the regular season. By combining the regular season record of all four of the aforementioned franchises, during their championship runs, they totaled a regular season record of 251-61 (.804 winning percentage).
Sure, the Bulls had the Jazz, the Celtics rivaled the Lakers, the Heat fought the Celtics, and the Warriors have had the Cavs in the postseason, but the NBA has become somewhat predictable through the regular season. The players on top of the world prefer to play for a championship, and while that should always be their goal, a lot of players no longer hold a value of loyalty to one home.
The biggest issue with super teams in the NBA is that there is no one way to stop it from occurring. Do you limit franchises to maxing the contract of one player? Do you lower the overall salary cap for all teams? There is not an answer that everyone can agree on, because lets face it, if we knew the solution, it would no longer be an issue for critics such as myself.
MLB Fans are Simply Losing Interest
America’s Pastime could certainly become part of the past, as MLB fans are statistically losing interest in the game they once loved. In fact, according to a study produced by Bloomberg Politics in April of 2015, 67% of individuals believed that football has taken over as America’s Pastime, whereas 28% believed baseball was still in control (5% recorded as “not sure”).
The league has swung and missed on a variety of attempts to attract fans. This includes speeding up the games, instant replay, and more innovations through the All-Star break. While these changes seemed intelligent in the moment, they turned out to have very little impact in terms of increasing the number of fans attending. In fact, there have only been two stadium rebuilds since 2010 (Target Field & Marlins Park) in order to adjust for fans. From 2000-09? There were a whopping 12 stadium changes.
There are a lot more changes the MLB can make in order to attract fans, but with sports such as the NBA and NFL on the rise, the youth is rapidly losing interest in playing baseball at a young age. By changing television blackout policies, that is just one simple way that the MLB can attract younger fans, instead of placing how much revenue they receive as the top priority.
Concussions Continue to Worry NFL Executives
During the 2015 season, it was recorded that 275 head injuries occurred over the course of the year. Last year, that amount dropped to 244, an 11.27% decrease. Impressive, right? Well, if you look at the 2013 (229) and 2014 (206) season totals, the 2016 season was a bad year for NFL players attempting to stay healthy. The NFL has invested a lot of time and money into the research behind their concussion issue, but this will remain to be the biggest issue in the NFL for awhile.
The former manufacturer of NFL helmets, Riddell, was actually sued by nearly 100 former NFL players last year. On top of that, the NFL settled lawsuits with nearly 20,000 other individuals, costing the industry roughly $1 billion in 2016.
Can the NFL fix the issue on concussions? Absolutely not. The league has attempted to change rules regarding the kickoff, and has also implanted more rule changes in order to protect offensive players. While these seem like huge strides towards solving the elephant in the room, they are evidently baby steps.
NHL Stars Aren’t Making the Money They Deserve
According to Business Insider in November of 2016, NHL players make an average of roughly $2.92 million per year, which is evidently less than most players in the NBA, MLB, Cricket, and European Soccer. While this is just an average study done among 333 professional teams, it’s still important to note that hockey is one of the most dangerous sports in the world.
Are players getting the salaries they deserve? Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane currently lead the NHL in the largest salary, which happens to be $10.5 million. In the MLB, NBA, and NFL, there are a combined total of 301 players making over that amount.
A lot of this reasoning has to do with how much money the NHL brings in terms of revenue, which is less than most of the other professional leagues. While they don’t bring in nearly as much revenue, this is still a $3.7 billion industry. The stars of the NHL deserve more than what they are being given, as the NHL is one of the most talked about sports in some parts of the world.
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