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A Popular Understanding Of Sports Economics

Our Texas Rangers blog, Lone Star Ball, has put together a post exploring what many fans believe about money in sports: that players are paid far too much, they're greedy, they're the reason ticket prices are so high, etc., etc.

Lone Star Ball is absolutely correct...

[A]thletes make lots of money because the owners are able to charge high ticket prices.  Revenues drive player salaries, not the other way around.

...but I do understand why some fans think the way they do. Really, I do. $10 million a year, let's say, is an incomprehensibly large amount of money. My understanding of basic economics is at loggerheads with my emotional, reactionary side, which will tell you things like, "players should donate 90% of their money to homeless people. They'd still have a million dollars!"

But if there's one thing I like to pick on, it's naiveté, so here is a basic flowchart illustrating the logic of the fans in question.

PROBLEM

In the old days, players were paid a common man's wage, eatin' lunch outta lunch pails, ridin' the train to work, fixin' their own water heaters, just like you an' me! Also, the owners got all the money

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The Reggie Jacksons and Roger Clemenses of the world started demanding a bunch of money because they are greedy

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Ticket prices go up to a million billion dollars

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I still have to buy tickets because baseball is awesome

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All the players blow our hard-earned money on cars and marijuana drugs

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The marijuana drugs make them go crazy and demand even more money

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I still have to buy tickets because if my son doesn't get to go to baseball games, he will not experience the classic American childhood and will probably grow up to deal marijuana drugs



SOLUTION

Make ticket prices like five dollars or something

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It will be like back in the old days, when players lived in regular people houses

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I'll walk out of my house and see Albert Pujols mowing the lawn next door and I'll be like, "hey, can I borrow your hedge trimmers?"

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He will let me borrow his hedge trimmers

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We will hang out all the time