Economic Aftershocks Reaching Sports

I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to American football, let alone to arena football, but I couldn’t help but take notice when the Arena Football League announced today that it was canceling its 2009 season.

As far as non-major professional sports go, I was always under the impression that the AFL was doing fairly well. It had been around for 22 years, a whole bunch of its games were broadcast nationwide regularly on major networks, and its attendance and TV ratings always seemed to be solid. In fact, the attendance figures and ratings continued increasing even through last season.

According to the AP story:

 In recent months . . . corporate sponsorships have dwindled.

The AFL’s woes come as the sports world, once thought to be largely recession-proof, has felt the economic chill, including layoffs at the NFL, NBA and NASCAR.

“I’m still a little bit shocked at the conclusions that were drawn only because this league has survived for such a long time,” Blaze coach Ron James said. “I always figured the league would find a way to sustain, even through tough economic times.”

Hopefully this is just an isolated incident and not the tip of the iceberg. If it’s the latter, I shudder to think about what it could mean for some of the things I do follow more closely, like MLS, WPS, the USL, and the WNBA. Thanks to my former life spent working in collegiate athletics, I’ve known some people whose livelihoods currently depend upon those leagues’ viability, especially in some of the USL tiers.

It’s a scary thing to consider, especially when taking into account that pro sports have traditionally been viewed as, if not recession-proof, at least strongly recession-resistant. How bad are things going to get if that assumption has to be thrown out the window now?

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5 Responses to “Economic Aftershocks Reaching Sports”

  1. Tim J. Says:

    Didn’t one of the WNBA teams just get shut down or sold or something?

  2. ianheath653 Says:

    Houston folded a couple of weeks ago. It was one of the original WNBA teams, too.

  3. gjmcrae Says:

    Very interesting words i will keep a eye for future work. All the best, the economic windfalls are setting in but ticket prices remain the same

    • Pablo Says:

      Breakers, doing marketing, we’d spend the most time tarigteng youth soccer leagues and middle/high school girls soccer teams. There WERE some adult women who came to the games, but they were outdone by kids and families. SO frustrating.Another point- women’s sports get hardly ANY airtime on ESPN, etc. Its a miracle if one blurb on SportsCenter is about a women’s team. It’s inequitable and its not fair and it should be causing a riot of women to stand up and make noise. How many YEARS ago was Title IX passed??? The effects should be felt from college to pro sports We should be moving up and up and up some more So what does it all come down to?? In my opinion it comes down to a society in which sexism is so deep-rooted into our daily lives that we can’t get away from it, if we wanted to! Sexism is far more accepted than racism in this society .If people of color were treated in the same fashion as women- inequitably and unjustly- there would be lawsuits abound and a media frenzy.Who controls the networks? Who sits in the corner office of all the radio/tv stations?? Who has the power??? Predominately, white, heterosexual, rich males. Hence, they control what the media shows. And its not manly to watch a bunch of chicks play sports on a level that’s not as good as professional men . Men don’t want to watch women play sports period. Why? Because of the belief that women are less-than. That’s what it boils down to.We, as women, need to unite. we need to stand up and make noise and DEMAND equality. Equality and visibility in our everyday lives. I am behind you 150% in that women’s sports should be viewed equally as men’s. And the only way to achieve that, I believe, is to get at the root of sexism, challenge it, and make it obsolete!And now I will step off my soapbox Keep up the amazingness, you two. xoxo from BeantownMichelle

  4. gjmcrae Says:

    Your blog is insightful do you feel this is a issue that can be resolved.

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