Ballpark food

I’m going to tell you something the people in professional sports don’t want you to know. It’s something they don’t want you to think about. If you thought about it, it would change your whole perspective on pro sports.

This is something the people in MLB, the NFL, the NBA, the WNBA, the NHL, MLS and the NWSL don’t want you to know and won’t tell you. It might really hurt the business if they did.

What am I about to tell you? I’m about to tell you who the most powerful people in professional sports are.

Are they league commissioners?  Nope.

Wealthy franchise owners?  Uh-uh.

High-powered agents? Don’t make me laugh.

Top players and athletes? Guess again.

There are too many of these people to list them all here. However, I can tell you where to find one. It’s simple. Just look in a mirror. Who do you see looking back?

That’s right, it’s you! You are one of the most powerful people in sports. Yes, you! That’s because you are a fan. Without fans, professional sports wouldn’t exist.

You, and millions like you, buy tickets to watch the games. You pay for parking and concessions like hot dogs. You watch the games on TV or listen on the radio, thereby providing ad revenue. You buy the kitschy merchandise. In other words, professional sports only exist because people like you (and me) are willing to give them our money.

What happens when we stop giving them our money? We saw examples of that this year. The TV ratings for the NBA were terrible, even for the finals. The ratings for the NFL are way down, as are the ratings for Major League Baseball. The 2020 World Series has had the lowest ratings ever for a Series, and that’s even with the Los Angeles Dodgers playing.

Why is this happening? Some would argue it’s because sports franchises are trying to show how “woke” they are in the current political climate. I suspect it may be something else. Given the long “gaps” in response to the coronavirus pandemic, many fans came to the realization they didn’t need professional sports to be entertained. They’re nice to have around, but you really don’t need them.

I believe that’s what happened in Los Angeles. After the Rams and Raiders both pulled out, LA was left for a number of years without NFL football. After having NFL football for a number of years and then losing it, fans in LA realized they didn’t need it.

So, when the Rams came back to LA and the Chargers moved in, the fans didn’t welcome them with open arms. It was more like a collective “meh,” which came as a shock to the NFL owners. The Rams and Chargers have both had problems with attendance. One wonders if the fans will go to the fancy new stadium that’s being built.

I’m certain the owners and players are now realizing how powerful the fans are. They’re completely dependent on them, and they better not take them for granted.

Fans are the most powerful people in sports. Without them, professional sports would not exist. If the leagues want to recover from the debacle of 2020, they better starting doing all they can to make their fans feel welcome and that they care about them. Some franchises, like the Arizona Diamondbacks, already know how to do this. For others, this will be a novel idea.

If you are unhappy with what a sports franchise is doing, stop giving them your hard-earned money. If enough fans do this, as they are now, the franchises will start getting the idea.

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