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Biting Back: Money is making the sporting world go round

By Declan Bogue

Published 06/05/2015

US boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., (L) and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines fight during their welterweight unification boxing bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
US boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., (L) and Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines fight during their welterweight unification boxing bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas

If you sat up for the charade that was Mayweather-Pacquiao, chances are the figures on show had your head spinning. With a reported purse of $300 million, it’s only natural to think what you could do with that kind of capital.

The uninitiated always have a problem with the amount of money that is in sport. How many starving mouths would that fill or how many hospital beds would provide, they argue?

What the outraged do not understand is that the money in professional sport is often a huge marketing tool in itself. Pacquiao-Mayweather was an exercise in bling.

It wasn’t always this way in sport. Back in 1966, Marvin Miller took over as head of the Major Leagues Baseball Players Association in the United States.

Until then, bubblegum companies would pay players the princely sum of five dollars to secure their image for five years, during which time they would sell their product off the back of the players.

The ball players were country boys who collected those cards and thought they were privileged because they got to eat steak every day and crowds cheered them on.

Miller changed all that, and a whole lot more by negotiating deals that benefitted the players as much as the companies.

So which scenario would you prefer? The athletes earning their own money, or being exploited?

Tricky things, ethics. . .

Belfast Telegraph

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