Monday, February 6, 2012

Sports and the State

“Okay, football is a game. No more analysis needed. This article sounds like it was written by a foreigner anyway. If you don't live in the US then you don't understand the Super Bowl :)”

To make this statement, you ignore several factors:

1) Government granting anti-trust exemption to professional sports leagues in the US (setting aside that EVERY entity should be exempt from anti-trust, but this isn't my point),

2) Local, state, and federal funding for stadiums (imagine the blessings if EVERY businessman could have the state pay for his capital expenditures).

3) The impossibly lucrative broadcast-rights fees paid by major networks to telecast the events, media being one of the more regulated industries in the US.

4) The merger of sports and the military, with every game preceded by a military fly-by, a military color-guard for the national anthem, and several commercials associated with military, death, and destruction.

I found it funny (in a pathetic sort of way) this past September, when - faced with a potentially season ending work stoppage, somehow the NFL and the players magically came to a last minute agreement to save the opening day of the season. Guess what the date was for the opening day....yes, September 11. The tenth year anniversary. What a coincidence!

The military pageantry mixed very well with the emotion (and distraction) of football.

There are reasons for these facts. It isn't solely because “football is a game”, although that is what your masters would have you believe.

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