3 Hypothetical Alternatives in Sports
1) Players Get Paid Based on their Performance.
Imagine a world in which athletes where just like everyone else when it came to how they got paid. In a normal job you start out with a basic pay rate. Usually, it is set at an hourly wage. Based on how well you do your job, your hourly wage can increase, maybe you move up to an annual guaranteed salary. You could even get bonuses depending on the work you accomplish.
Now translate that into the sports world.
Would it be so bad if athletes were not paid millions of dollars unless they actually deserved all those checks? Would they play better if they weren’t guaranteed six figures unless they met a certain standard?
Let’s look at MLB players and compare their dollar figures to their stats.
Alex Rodriguez is currently making an average of $27.5 million a year, the most in the league. This past season, Rodriguez hit .276 with 16 home runs and 62 RBI. That's well off the mark for best in the league—I know he was injured but remember this is all hypothetical.
I’m sure the New York Yankees could have found a more productive way to spend some of that money this year. Had he been given a base salary of $60,000 and for every home run he hit he was given $1,000 more, I’m sure that home run total would be a little higher.
I’m not trying to bash A-Rod here. I’m just suggesting that if athletes were given a basic salary at the beginning of the year and based on their performance their pay checks would increase, we may see a little more hustle on the field. Of course, there would have to be minimum increases for guys that are bench players or guys that get injured.
I know there are already incentive-laden contracts and guys get bonus money for making the playoffs or winning awards. But to sit down in a stadium and watch a bunch of players who are millionaires play a game is sometimes a little unsettling.
I’m not trying to re-write Moneyball here. I’m just saying that if, hypothetically, these players were paid based on their performance, we might see an increase in their overall level of play.
2) People Go to the Games for the Game, Not the Bobblehead.
Giveaways are great. Kids get a souvenir they can cherish forever. Collectors get another piece of memorabilia to add to their haul. And the average fan get’s a little something more than a game with the price of admission.
The downfall is this: a lot of people go to certain games based on the giveaways. It’s like choosing a box of cereal based on what toy you get inside.
A lot of the time they just want it so they can sell it later on eBay. I was at the Roberto Alomar Hall of Fame game in Toronto last August. After the game I saw a couple of guys walking around with a gym bag full of bobbleheads, and they just happened to be discussing how much they are going to get for them.
I’m not against the giveaways themselves. I’m against the people only going to those games because they get something more than just the on field product. You should go for the nostalgia of cheering on your favorite team. Go for the excitement that only live, non-scripted sports can bring you.
The hypothetical proposition would be this: when you buy a ticket to that game you have to fill out a team survey. Something that can prove you really love that team and that getting that hat or shirt or bobblehead is just a part of the experience, not the sole reason for it.
I know owners would never agree to this because a lot of the time the giveaways are a cash grab to try and bring in fans for less popular games such as when a last place team is in town. Of course, the major markets never have to worry about this as they sell-out nearly every single game.
It’s just a little annoying when it takes extra motivation for people to put their butts in the seats and when a true fan is denied that piece of memorabilia. It makes coming back to the park, field, or stadium that much ore difficult especially with the way ticket prices are now.
3) Fans Get a Refund for a Poor Home Team Performance.
On Friday, The Boston Bruins visited the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. At the end of the night the Bruins left town with a 7-0 victory and every Leafs fan went home clearly disappointed.
It was almost as if the Maple Leafs didn’t bother to show up. So why should the fans?
Here’s a hypothetical proposition to all team owners; if your team plays horrible at home—and I mean really get’s spanked—you should refund every customer that night. McDonald's will refund me for a badly cooked burger; Walmart will give me my money back if the DVD doesn’t work. So if your team doesn’t bother to play why not give back the customer their money.
I know this will never, ever happen. But what if it did. Think about all the kids that were there because they received tickets for their birthdays, or the two friends who only go to one Leafs game a year because they can’t afford anything else. You think they enjoyed that experience?
And I’m not suggesting that the home team only make money if they win—that would be crazy. I’m suggesting that if the home team plays like they don’t want to be there then the fans should get compensated for having to suffer through that.
If a team loses 1-0, or 4-2 or even 5-2 it could be argued that there was some effort there. But when a team loses 7-0 and only got 24 shots on the opposing net, there is something wrong there.
This could go for other sports as well and there would have to be a defining line on what is a poor performance.
During the past MLB season, the Toronto Blue Jays were no-hit by Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers at home.
Would you want your money back if you were a Jays fan?
Not really because how many times are you going to witness a no-hitter, and the Blue Jays were just dominated. But say the Jays lose 12-0 and manage just two hits and can’t cash in with runners in scoring position, while swinging at every ball that went in the dirt. Then maybe you’d have a case.
I think this would be an interesting way to view sports and it would force the home team to play well.
I never expect these things to come to fruition. I just think it would be an interesting concept if this was relevant in the sporting world we know and love.