Think again, the NFL have nothing to do with  »socialism ».

Like in every year in the beginning of February, The Super Bowl is coming soon. Honey, put the pizza and the chicken wings in the oven, the game will start soon!

But, according to some the NFL is using some  »socialist » values. Well, we look closely and even if some are only saying this because there is a sharing of revenues between franchises, this affirmation is bogus. In term of political ideology, I find that some people in the US (like in many other countries) had a weird conception of socialism. They think in a way the fallacious argument that an organization like the NFL could be run the same way that an organization with hundreds of millions of different individuals.

-First of all, the NFL is a VOLUNTARY association of franchises. If you are talking about socialism in a state-sponsored level (and yes many people that I know are giving half of the salary to the state), for example, if you don’t want to pay income taxes because you don’t accept the fact that a state is too much interventionist in our own lives, the (armed) police will come to your door.

-The second thing is that in opposition to state socialism, I am sure that a team that have 25 000 spectators per match or no big sponsors will be kicked out of the league (or sold to another owner to move it elsewhere). In real life, state socialism tend to bring in the long-term a  »no-fault » society where the rewards will be the same whatever the work  is done or not, even with the lack of innovation to be more productive. Remember, that markets Jacksonville, Buffalo and Green Bay are exceptions to the rule with the NFL (sorry for the LA area fans).

The question of tickets is also another good arguments. Season tickets or regular tickets are not the same price according to the market, the specific game or the specificities related to the stadium. I am sure then if any NFL season or individual ticket is the same price whatever the price, the black market by itself would put a specific price related to the market with even some people going in the full-time job of ticket seller. The same could be said about TV contracts and advertising in general. Why do you think that the  »best » ads are generally shown DURING the Super Bowl? This is exactly like the fact that during the latest recession, pundits laughed that a shady-looking gold agency bought a Super Bowl ad space. This is a good sign of economic turmoil.

-Also, there is the element that football is unlike any professional sport in his particular schedule. There is limited number of games (even with exhibition games and playoffs) which brings the important point that EVERY game must be sold out. In baseball, basketball, hockey or even soccer, some games on weekdays are run on a loss. In football, with such a limited number of games it’s impermissible that a team run any game with an important loss. Even that a game which is blackouted in the home city because the team could not fill the stands have consequences among both the fan base, the sponsors and other owners who would not accept too many blackouts.

-Another subject is the fact there is no maximum salary in the NFL (other then the salary cap) and salaries are not the same based on different positions to the opposition of  basketball in particular. Even with the fact that the roster is fairly large in a professional football team, in some cases, a star quarterback (or maybe a running back) could have a big part of the team payroll and this the some players have many specific tasks have a salary which is very similar from team to team.

Also, football is easier to work under a salary cap because player usually have shorter careers which brings the element that having new rookies at some positions almost each year usually costs less then for example hockey or basketball when some players (even some utility players) have sometime very long careers in almost any position.

So, if we go to the extreme, what would happens to a pro sports league if every player (or head coach) is remunerated the same salary by his position? Many people tend to forget that a player with a high salary is generally more watched by both owners, the media and the fan base and that it is naive to think that a player who have a lower salary don’t perform hard to have a bigger salary. Same thing that some players are far more serious in the last year of a multi-year contract then on the first years.

And again, could professional sport athletes be paid a lot of money because they actually have the skills to do something which few have and this with a constant pressure from both the owners, the media and the fans and this with the fact being a sport pro athlete is actually a dangerous job. Let’s be realistic by saying that a cardiologist is more in demand because he have rarer skills then somebody working at McDonald’s (I did that as a part-time job which is not bad at all) for example (which is exactly why education or learning a trade is very important to be more prosperous).  Also, being a professional sport athlete don’t usually leads you to a long career as any entrepreneur, physician or lawyer because it’s generally quite difficult to play any professional sport after the age of 40.

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