The Biggest Rip-Offs in Sports Right Now

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2016

The Biggest Rip-Offs in Sports Right Now

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Us sports fans will do almost anything to feel part of the action, spending insane amounts of cash on tickets to sporting events or merch to rep our favorite team. It's too bad that some things in sports aren't worth our time and money, though.

    As we all know, there are a few things in sports that are absolute rip-offs, like overpriced players who underperform, overhyped events and stuff that leaves us shaking our heads with the price tag.

    Since I have a beef with the sports industry after dropping $175 for a ticket to a recent hockey game, I figured the best way to rant would be putting together a list of the biggest rip-offs in sports.

Throwback Uniforms

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    Jeff Haynes/Getty Images

    I know you want to, but don't do it, guys.

    While teams are always displaying "new" throwback uniforms that they'll be wearing a few times throughout a season, the fact that fans are flocking to team stores to buy them is a abomination that I'll never understand.

    Seriously, it's just a money-making scam for teams to take more cash out of a person's pocket, so why actually buy into the ploy?

    Call me too traditional, but I'd much rather have the current jersey of a team than the one that's dated and just being repurposed and sold for over $100. That's just me, though.

Stadium Food

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    I love stadium food as much as the next fan, but I'm not about to pay $26 for a freaking hamburger that is smashed between two mini pizzas—like the Atlanta Braves expect some fans will.

    Much like overpriced beer and tickets, arenas/stadiums know that fans like to eat—a lot—so those places can charge massive amounts of money in order to make people do just that, which is a really sad sight for those of us who remember when beer was $7 and food was, you know, a normal price.

    With the average price of two tickets to a MLB game this season at about $78—which includes tickets, parking, two beers and two hot dogs—it'd be smarter to fill up on food at home, hit a happy hour before the first pitch and sip one or two beers from the stands.

    That would be the financially responsible thing to do, anyway.


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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    There was a time not too long ago when I needed the newest kicks from my favorite player, Michael Jordan. Marching down to the nearest shoe store, I'd drop the $125 for a new pair and instantly think I'd be the next MJ one day.

    It didn't happen, and not having them probably didn't make me any less cool.

    Want to know the crazy part, though? Sneakers have gone up even more, with custom shoes for players such as LeBron James starting at about $200!

    Even more sad than the price tag, though, is that wearing them won't improve a person's game at all, and, just when someone thinks they've got the newest pair, a company releases another $200-plus version that will leave you mad you didn't wait.

Sports Gambling

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    It's not so much that gambling is an expensive activity—unless it becomes a bad hobby that's tough to break—it's that some people just can't help themselves when it comes to trying to get lucky.

    Much like playing the lottery, sports gambling is a rip-off for one simple reason: odds.

    Sure, fans always hear stories of those hitting it big with a simple $5 bet and winning hundreds of thousands of dollars. But in the end, it doesn't happen as frequently as we would all hope—and the chances of it happening to you or me are super slim.

    It's fun to be competitive and have some skin in the game, but do yourself a favor and save your dough for something else.

Dwight Howard

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    Can someone please tell me what in the hell has happened to Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard over the past couple of years?

    Once one of the most dominant big men in the game, D12 has gone from All-Star and athletic freak to nothing but an overpaid distraction, making him a complete headache for his teammates and Houston fans.

    Averaging just 13.7 points and 11.8 rebounds this season, he is far from the player he once was, making his $22.3 million salary for this season a complete waste of money. And with Dwight set to, potentially, become a free agent again this summer, here's to hoping no team thinks that another max contract will help inspire him to play, because he's just not worth that type of money anymore.

Fantasy Sports Other Than Football

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    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    As a sports junkie, it's easy to think that fantasy sports is the perfect platform to be competitive and become a little bit more involved in the live action. It's too bad that any fantasy sports not named football don't bring the same excitement, though.

    You see, fantasy football is the perfect season and roster length to keep fans intrigued for five months, allowing people to talk crap and, even with a crappy record, stick with updating their team from start to finish.

    Other sports like basketball, baseball or hockey, though, well, they're just too long, with minute details like starting pitchers, injuries and goaltenders to worry about on the reg, making it tough to stay interested throughout the season.

    Oh, and let's not forget that fantasy football is one matchup, once a week, whereas those others require updating every single day since there are so many games.

    I love sports, but I dislike fantasy sports if it's not for football.

New York Knicks

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Much like the aforementioned Dwight Howard, the New York Knicks have a player in Carmelo Anthony that is overpaid, unmotivated and doesn't seem to care about anything but his own numbers.

    That, along with the insane amounts of cash it takes to attend a game at Madison Square Garden, are why the Knicks are the biggest rip-off in the NBA—which writer Jared Max so poignantly declared in 2015 for CBS New York.

    To echo Max, New York has traded away key parts of the roster for future assets, refuse to fully rebuild and continue to make fans believe that they're one big free agent signing away from contending again.

    Call them crooks if you want to, but I'll just go ahead and call them a scam, because there's no hope for the Knicks anytime soon.

The Super Bowl

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    It's the biggest sporting event on the planet, but the Super Bowl's also the most overhyped and most expensive thing in the history of sports.

    From the cost of a 30-second ad on Super Sunday to tickets and prices of flights and hotels on the weekend of the game, when the Super Bowl comes to a city, it's straight rolling in cash from fans who come flocking.

    The sad thing is it's highway robbery when it comes to fans, who think that attending the game will be the life-changing event that they've always dreamt of. 

    If ever lucky enough, I'll happily drop hundreds or even $1,000 to see my favorite team win a title, but with the soaring prices of everything surrounding the Super Bowl, I may never get the chance to even realistically think about it—unless I want to jokingly sell my house to get there.

New York Yankees' Premium Ticket Policy

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    The New York Yankees are the most recognizable sports franchise on the planet, yet that doesn't mean they're susceptible to getting ripped by plenty of people for a variety of reasons.

    One of those reasons happens to be the insane ticket prices of premium seats at Yankee Stadium, which left late-night talk show host John Oliver offering some tickets behind home plate up to fans for $0.25 should they agree to dress like they don't belong in the bougie spot.

    A game from that close has to be amazing, but those who weren't lucky enough to win Oliver's contest are paying insane amounts, which, sadly, is exactly how the team wants it to be.

    Oh well, I guess the nosebleeds will have to do for, you know, us "regular" people.

Preseason Games

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Simply put: The. Absolute. Worst.

    While I can appreciate the different position battles between players to make a roster, when it comes to the product on the field, there's nothing more disastrous than the preseason.

    Sure, we all get teased into watching games on TV, falling into the trap of overreacting when a team plays badly or reading way too many predictions. But that doesn't mean fans actually like the fake season; we're just excited the sport is almost back.

    Between the poor play, unknown players and tickets remaining to be full priced, the preseason is, by far, the biggest rip-off in sports.

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