Yesterday I went to an afternoon game to watch Felix Hernandez pitch against the Atlanta Braves with a couple of my good friends. The reigning AL Cy Young winner had control issues from the start. Felix gave up 5 runs over 7 innings and the Seattle Mariners ended up losing 5-3, but a good time was had by all.
My friends and I had a few post game cocktails and sparked up an interesting conversation about the economics of sports. The pervasive opinion at the table was that greed is ruining sports and until the average fan can afford to go and watch a game the world of sports is in jeopardy. The opinion is half true.
Greed plays a prominent role in the cost of sporting events, but the game hasn't been about the average fan for quite some time. Corporate entities are what drives sports leagues and contribute to the bulk of the revenues owners receive. Luxury suites, advertising, and concessions have become essential to sporting events and arguably more important than the game itself.
For a die hard sports fan like me going to a game is all about the experience of watching your team win or lose in person, but for the owners it's all about the money. They don't care if you've been a fan for 5 decades or 5 minutes so long as you can afford the $50 seats, the $25 parking space, the $9 beers, and the $7 hot dogs.
Sports is entertainment and if you want to see the stars perform on the big stage you have to pay the price. For everyone else there's TV.