Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

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Where really is my money going? An investigative look at the cost of cable.



In the article, “Made about the cost of TV? Blame Sports” written by Derek Thompson in 2013, delves into to an issue affecting those whom are paying for cable television programming. The Journal article takes a comical spin in an effort to inform the audience that the reason behind paying for the high cost of cable, is largely due to the fact that sports programs and companies are to be blamed. Thompson further elaborates this statement by bringing out the logistics of the matter. Essentially, if the average bill costs 80-90 dollars the payer will pay for the programming and the distribution of television.  Channels then collect affiliate fees, and the most in-demand channels tend to negotiate the highest fees. Oddly enough, ESPN collects a one of the highest monthly cost at $5.13 as seen from a graph from the LA Times. MTV charges $0.39 for contrasting purposes.

Thompson goes on to state that the rational for this high affiliation process for sport is so high because of the values sports have and bring. The biggest draw, or rather sport for this charging process, is the NFL. In 2002, NFL games averaged about 15 million viewers and broadcast prime time shows averaged 10 million. NFL also accounts for 30 percent of advertising and 36 percent of sports rights in 2012. Thompson then goes on to say, that if the average cable bill per month, $76 dollars a year essentially goes straight onto the NFL. So even if a viewer doesn’t watch sports, you are still paying for others who do in an annual subsidy. Thompson also reminds us that 28 percent of Disney’s earnings and 23 percent of News Corps cable earnings come from sport channels (ABC and FX). Thompson ends the piece by informing that sports keeps the cable bundle together, and the bundles are powering the media companies through TV entertainment.

Here is a quick summary video about the power monopolies have over television:

The article brings about some interesting undertones that don’t really appear at first glance.  It is evident of the power that media has over distribution of information as seen from this article, but it also informs the reader that this bias formulates perceptions of the viewer. Basically, whomever has the highest dollar gets their name out there the most. This presents a double-edged sword for the Sport, Recreation, and Leisure fields as the sporting world gets recognition to reach millions of people, but on the other hand whose interests are actually benefiting. Given that the NFL and other popular organizations occupy most time, it becomes nearly impossible for other organizations to get an adequate piece of the pie.  Consider the broadcasting of the CFL and the NFL. .Because viewership does not come nowhere next to the NFL’s, the league and players make significantly less (Even in the case of the NLL). This article goes to show that a pseudo sovereignty exists in the cable world, where we may have access to huge volumes of channels but the bulk of our bill is filled up for sports and only a few limited are broadcasted or what is deemed as “high viewership.” One might say that in the era of infinite television channels, realistically we are offered and evidently paying for cable as we lived back in the three-channel era.

The relevance to sport and kinesiology is the effect of media and distributing professional sports to the world. From here, we can speculate the effects of what shows are being broadcasted and how many non-elite play the sport. It also speaks to the effect of capitalistic mentalities in the shaping of perceptions on what sport or activity constitutes. Whose interests are really being looked at if each person is forced to spend so much on sports per year in the cable bill!


Thompson, D. (2013). Mad About the Cost of TV? Blame SportsThe Atlantic. Retrieved 3 October 2016, from


Case Study: How The NFL Fleeces Tax-Payers

lead_largeEasterbrook exemplifies the level of gauging that the NFL and its owners get away with by explaining that since the NFL has obtained a not for profit status and receives tax exemptions from the government, the public is stuck with the burden of paying off the tremendous debts associated with the construction of coliseum like marvels. Easterbrook then provides the reader with an argument for a solution to the end of taxpayer fleecing by the NFL.


The NFL has government Backing and Non Profit Status. This came effect with Public Law 89-800. The 1966 law was effectively a license for NFL owners to print money. This sweetheart deal [for Non-profit status] was offered to the NFL in exchange only for its promise not to schedule games on Friday nights or Saturdays in autumn, when many high schools and colleges play football.

The non-profit status applies to the NFL’s headquarters, which administers the league and its all-important television contracts. Individual teams are for-profit and presumably pay income taxes—though because all except the Green Bay Packers are privately held and do not disclose their finances, it’s impossible to be sure. 

The NFL burdens the tax payers with the cost of the stadiums while keeping profits to themselves.In a typical arrangement, taxpayers provide most or all of the funds to build an NFL stadium. The team pays the local stadium authority a modest rent, retaining the exclusive right to license images on game days. The team then sells the right to air the games. Finally, the NFL asserts a copyright over what is broadcast. No federal or state law prevents images generated in facilities built at public expense from being privatized in this manner.

Politicians seem more interested in receiving campaign donations and invitations to luxury boxes than in taking on the football powers that be to bargain for a fair deal for ordinary people that use of the game’s images “without the NFL’s consent” is prohibited. Under copyright law, entertainment created in publicly funded stadiums is private property. Public officials who back football-stadium spending, meanwhile, can make lavish promises of jobs and tourism, knowing the invoices won’t come due until after they have left office. Pro-football coaches talk about accountability and self-reliance, yet pro-football owners routinely binge on giveaways and handouts.


NFL’s non-profit status should be revoked and congress should require that television images created in publicly funded sports facilities cannot be privatized. The result would be that the related costs incurred to the public are minimized and the league owner’s would become accountable to cover the funds the public previously funded (given the tremendous revenue generated by the NFL, Easterbrook does not see that as an issue).


If football images created in places funded by taxpayers became public domain, the league would respond by paying the true cost of future stadiums—while negotiating to repay construction subsidies already received. To do otherwise would mean the loss of billions in television-rights fees. Pro football would remain just as exciting and popular, but would no longer take advantage of average people.

Until public attitudes change, those at the top of the pro-football pyramid will keep getting away with whatever they can. This is troubling not just because ordinary people are taxed so a small number of NFL owners and officers can live as modern feudal lords and ladies. It is troubling because athletics are supposed to set an example—and the example being set by the NFL is one of selfishness.

Roger Goodell and the free market “so-called” defense

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Case Study: Revisiting Guns and Professional Athletes in 2009

Lavelle argues that both the reinterpretation of Burress & Arenas’ after their respective gun controversies shows that the image of a black athlete who has risen from rough circumstances is one that is easily tarnished at the hands of the media when they are accused of a firearm related crime.

Both Arenas and Burress were seen as “safe” before their criminal cases, yet afterwards, they have morphed into threats. “Looking at these two cases together demonstrates how the presence of weapons changes the tone of rhetoric that attempts to make sense of criminal charges against athletes.” [Lavelle, 2014] Continue reading

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ESPN ranks all 122 professional sport franchises in North America

These rankings combine fan opinions with an objective measure of how well teams turn dollars into wins.

Criteria were:

Affordability (11.3%): Price of tickets, parking and concessions

Coaching (3.2%): Strength of on-field leadership

Fan relations (25%): Courtesy by players, coaches and front office toward fans, plus how well a team uses technology to reach fans

Ownership (13.1%): Honesty; loyalty to core players and the local community

Players (14.6%): Effort on the field, likability off it

Stadium experience (9.8%): Quality of arena; fan-friendliness of environment; frequency of game-day promotions

Title track (4.6%): Championships won or expected within the lifetime of current fans

Bang for the buck (18.3%): Wins in the past two years per fan dollar, adjusted for league schedules

Spoiler alert:

Rated last (#122 of 122) was: 


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Relationship between athletes and role models

As an undergraduate in RSS, an article I would recommend to future RSS 4092 students is:

LeMier, K. (2008). Relationship between athletes and role models. Journal of Undergraduate Research at Minnesota State University, Mankato, 8(7), 1-12.

While trying to think of a topic to write about for a Recreation and Sport Studies paper, I saw a commercial on television about the upcoming Masters golf tournament which featured Tiger Woods. Seeing the image of Tiger Woods instantly gave me the idea for my paper. In 2009, Woods’ private life was plastered all over the media, as there were allegations that he had been cheating on his wife. These allegations proved to be true and had detrimental affects on Woods’ life. He withdrew himself from multiple upcoming golf tournaments, lost many of his sponsorship deals and lost the respect of a lot of his fans. Many people blamed Woods for teaching poor morals to young children who looked up to him. This led to my question: should professional athletes be expected to be role models?


LeMier (2008) examines whether or not athletes should have the responsibility to portray themselves as a positive role model to children. According to LeMier, there are three main issues when it comes to the influence that athletes have on young children:

  1. the moral development of the youth,
  2. the potential influence by athletes on the behavior of the youth, and
  3. how athletes are expressed through the media as exceptions to the rules.