Sports and Big Business Relationship

Subject: Management
Pages: 7
Words: 1950
Reading time:
7 min
Study level: PhD

Problem statement

For a long time in history, sports have been taken as a social event. Sports have been in existence for many years. As it is today, the magnitude and scale of sport in society are growing. This has been characterized by growth in the number of sports and sporting events globally. While the social aspect of sports has become significant, there has been a shift in the way people view sports. Sports are no longer viewed from the social inclination but are seen as probable commercial activities. Sports are being considered as a business, just like any other formal business. This is because unlike in the early times the earnings made from sports and sport-related activities have tremendously grown. However, many other people consider sports to be non-profit-oriented events, and they do not equate sports to business. Therefore, a gap exists between people who perceive sporting events as a business industry and those who think that sports should not be commercialized. The filling of this gap entails that there has to be an understanding of the contribution and benefit of sports in global economies. This is what will inform on whether sports should be considered as businesses and operated like commercial activities.

Objectives of the research

The main objective of this research is to gather supportive data and literature in two categories. This includes the data supporting the notion that sports are commercial activities and data that contravene this notion. The second objective is to get examples of sports and sporting activities that can be treated as large businesses in the way they are being managed. The third objective is to comprehend the effect of sports on economies.


According to Mason (1999), sports and sporting events have been in existent for a long time and have been fulfilling the main goal of bringing people together. They have been used as social events. However, from the last half of the 20th century, the number of sporting events and activities has been on the rise. During this period, there have been considerable prize tags in sports with the winning teams getting monetary gains besides the trophies (Carenys & Sales, 2012). Notably, sports are becoming highly structured as opposed to ancient sports, which were less structured. They were more or less spontaneous activities. As it is now, sports and sporting activities are taken seriously. This is because sports are conducted according to set plans, and they happen as per the schedules set in the plans. At local levels, in most communities, sports are still seen as social events aimed at promoting interactions by bringing different people together (Giannoulakis & Apostolopoulou, 2011).

Sports have become income-earning activities not only to the direct participants but also to the whole chain of people involved in organizing for the sports. Sports are organized to generate income for the organizers. This is called the commercialization of sports. In the commercialization of sports, sports are treated like any other business with profit outcomes being expected. The number of sporting clubs is growing in different sports. For example, in football, there are big footballing clubs in Europe controlling vast assets. In the United States, there are famous basketball clubs that have a huge asset base. Research is pointing out that sports have become commercial activities. There are lots of revenues are collected, and lots of money are exchanged from the leading sporting clubs in the world to mega sporting events (Herstein & Jaffe, 2008).

Sporting activities and events generate lots of money in economies. They boost different business sectors in economies such as the tourism sector. This is the reason why they are treated like successful businesses. The social objective of sports cannot be ignored. Sports also fulfill this objective. However, this role of sport has been dominated by the commercial benefits of sports. Sports are more inclined to business than to social development (Adcroft & Teckman, 2009). Research has revealed that the aspect of management in sport is being emphasized. This is because of the gains that are derived from sports. Management in sports aims at bringing better practices, just like in business, so that the gains can be maximized. There have been various studies in the area of sport management. However, people fail to focus on the commercial worth of sports and to what extent sports can be termed as business activities (Burnes & O’Donnell, 2011).

Brief outline

This research seeks to establish the worthiness of sports in the economy, and why sport should be considered as a business and not just a social event. In investigating this topic, literature will be collected from diverse resources and posted in the literature review section. This literature will be used as a source from which inferences or conclusions will be made. After the literature has been collected, it will be discussed and analyzed concerning the topic of investigation. This will form the discussion and analysis part of this paper. This part will try to link the literature and facts therein to the topic. The conclusion and recommendations part will then follow. The main points that will feature in the analysis part will be encoded into facts either supporting or confirming the topic under investigation. Recommendations will be given as direction for future research based on the gaps existing.

Literature Review

This is an essential part of this research aimed at giving the real facts about the topic being investigated. This part will be subdivided into different subtopics to give a broad room for understanding the relationship between sports and business. The literature will be arranged developmentally so that it can give a clear picture of the relationship between sports and business. The subtopics under literature will be the history of sports and sporting events; the commercialization of sports; the role of sports in the modern economy; and sports as businesses.

The history of sports

Sports are events that have existed for many years. The way sports were viewed in ancient times is not the way they are viewed today. The role and contribution of sports in society have been changing with time. The change has been from the basic role of socializing to complex and beneficial roles (Giannoulakis & Apostolopoulou, 2011). The history of sports is expected to give a clear picture of the role of sports from the development perspective. The role of sports from ancient times up to date will be carried in this literature. The history will also reveal the changing role of sports and the reasons why there is this change. This literature will be attained in a summary form. Only key points in history will be extracted for different resource materials and included in this part of the literature.

Commercialization of sports

Research has shown that the role of sports has changed in the last three decades. Sports have been shifted from being social events to commercial activities, and then to business due to commercialization. Commercialization has made sporting organizations and managers concerned with the principles of business. Business principles have become core in the management of sporting organizations and sporting events. Therefore, sporting organizations are being described as business organizations. This is because of the business dimension taken in managing sports (Carenys & Sales, 2012).

Under this part, literature will be collected based on two perspectives. The first part of the literature will show the indications of the commercialization of sporting activities. This literature will be focused on different sports and sporting organizations. It will also focus on activities that denote that sports are commercial activities. Income and expenditure in sports will be given preference here as this is what denotes commercial activities. Also, different deals and agreements made in sports organizations will be carried in this literature. Many other examples and reports of business deals made in sports will be contained in this literature.

The second part of the literature on the commercialization of sports will focus on the state sports departments or non-profit-making oriented sporting organizations. The approaches of management of these departments or organizations will be featured to ascertain how they manage to sustain their activities. The literature will link the decisions that are made in these organizations to those decisions that are made in business organizations.

The role and contribution of sports in the modern economy

As opposed to ancient sports and sporting events, sports have been applauded in the modern world economy. Sports make both direct and indirect contributions to the economy. Sports are being treated like any other business. This is because they are making a considerable contribution to the economic growth and development of national and international economies. Huge sums of money are being pumped into sporting infrastructure development. The outcome of this investment is reflected in different sectors of the economy such as tourism and hospitality industries among others (Carenys & Sales, 2012).

This section of the literature review will carry the outcomes of different cases that relate sports to the economy. The literature will look into different cases of how sports are related to economic growth. Things like investments made in sports, the revenues earned from different sports, and sporting activities will be discussed. The literature will carry many examples of different sports and sporting organizations, as well as events and their outcomes related to economic growth. Sports considered to have many supporters will be given critical consideration when seeking literature. These sports will include football, basketball, and athletics. Views will be combined with different research cases and reports to give comprehensive data.

Sports as business

Sporting organizations are being run using the principles of running businesses. They also control vast revenues and control large budgets. These organizations are found at the international as well as national levels. They also have many assets and many continue to invest in different sectors like the hotel sector. These organizations indulge in the same activities as many business organizations. Notably, some of these organizations have assets that outweigh the assets of the so-called giant multinationals. The assets and revenues of the leading football clubs in Europe are excellent examples (Giannoulakis & Apostolopoulou, 2011).

This will be the last part or subtopic under the literature review. This literature will seek to gain insights on whether sports are considered as businesses and up to what level. Sporting clubs and organizations that have excelled will be the main focus. The literature will relate how the organizations run their activities to the operations of successful multinationals. The objective of this literature will be to relate sports organizations to business organizations to justify whether sports can be run as real businesses.

Discussion and analysis

This part will look into all literature that will have been collected in the literature review. The literature will be assessed based on the objectives of this research. Each part of the literature review has its significance to the objectives of the research, which will also be reflected in the outcomes of this research. The data in the literature will be assessed in an analytical sense by narrowing the look into the objectives of this research. The analysis will come up with key stands or findings from literature and relate them to the problem being investigated.

Conclusion, Recommendations, and outcomes

This is the last part of this research that will put the problem under investigation to rest by giving the outcomes of this research. The outcomes of this research will be determined by the analysis of the literature. The conclusion will be reached based on the points that will emanate from the analysis. The conclusion will put to rest the matter under investigation, which is whether or not sports are large businesses. Under this section, areas that offer the potential for more research will be highlighted.


Adcroft, A., & Teckman, J. (2009). Taking sport seriously. Management Decision, 47(1), 5-13.

Burnes, B. & O’Donnell, H. (2011). What can business leaders learn from sport? Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, 1(1), 12 – 27.

Carenys, J. & Sales, X. (2012). Tailoring performance management systems: A sports merchandiser’s case. Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, 2(2), 1-45.

Giannoulakis, C. & Apostolopoulou, A. (2011). Implementation of a multi-brand strategy in action sports. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 20(3), 171 – 181.

Herstein, R. & Jaffe, E.D. (2008). Sport hospitality as a business strategy. Journal of Business Strategy, 29(6), 36 – 43.

Mason, D.S. (1999). What is the sports product and who buys it? The marketing of professional sports leagues. European Journal of Marketing, 33(3/4), 402 – 419.