Let’s rewind to 1966 when England won the first FIFA world cup. The famous and memorable image taken of the players cheering and smiling with the trophy shows no form of sponsorship other than the England logo on their plain red shirts. There were no advertisements flashing brightly above the players in the background of the arena. No extra logos anywhere, just blank white shorts covered in mud and grass.
Almost 50 years later, Germany won the FIFA World Cup which was hosted in Rio, Brazil. The photograph taken of the team was completely different, it was planned and the players were standing in a formation and a more proper positioning than the photograph taken in 1966. As the team stand in a formation, a huge banner sprawls above the top of them, and also another across the bottom if one wasn’t enough. On each of the players shirts there are around 4 other brand’s logos and a cluster of different shapes and colours. It isn’t visible in the photograph below but billboards and aminated sidelines flash repeatedly for the viewer’s attention. Another huge difference between now and then was the prices you paid to watch a match. In 1966, the seats in the arena were priced near to nothing, in 2014 standard tickets started from £59 and went up to around £650.
The main component that has caused this dramatic change is commercialisation. FIFA members found and realised a profitable potential in football matches, and so did other sport organisations which soon followed FIFA. People watched football because it was an opportunity to be social, to feel like part of something and because they enjoyed it, whatever the reason for watching it was, didn’t matter because loads of people were watching it. This is when people realised it could make some money. The ticket prices gradually increased, matches were broadcasted on TV and sponsorships became a popular way to raise finance for facilities and coaches. The commercialisation of football particularly, introduced a whole new reason to play sport to the extent of being elite. People are aware that footballers make a lot of money just off one match and this may create issues but also creates a good opportunity for national comfort. The more money spent on improving players and facilities, the more people come together to watch matches and support their favourite team. It creates an ‘us’ and ‘them’, which builds the strong bond of being part of something and being proud of your nation. If we did not have the opportunity to come together, people may feel lonely. Perhaps some people are able to feel safe and comfortable in the majority of countries.
However, there are negative impacts of the extremity of finance among the football/sport industry. Because the players are gaining so much, they are also very vulnerable and can easily lose so much too. This creates huge pressure for the teams and individual players, and something I ask myself is, ‘is this ethical?’. The majority of footballers have to live with fame, which means little or no privacy and this can sometimes prove too much for sportsmen. For example, missing a goal in one match could contribute to the next years worth of positioning in leagues for your team. The pressure is tremendous and if you don’t perform to your best potential then you may suffer consequences as big as being kicked off the team. Commercialisation of football has created the wider audience and in conclusion has given players fame and fortune.
The football players, managers and almost anything to do with football are being paid way too much today. Part of this is by sponsorship and just simply by wearing a logo on your t-shirt a player could earn a lot of money. According to the BBC, if you are earning around £25,000 a year, Cristiano Ronaldo could earn that in 14 minutes. It would take you 740 years to earn what he earns. He is one of the most famous footballers at the moment and earns around €18m a year. In addition to this horrifying truth, Cristiano Ronaldo earns 83 times more than the highest paid female footballer, Alex Morgan. Money is seen as a reason for motivation, the better the team, the higher the wages.
In conclusion, I do not agree with how much they get paid but I do believe they should be paid highly because they have brought huge publicity and job opportunities to ordinary people. In the wide spectrum of things, there are many more issues globally that we could be solving if we used a portion of the money from commercialisation we give to footballers on a daily basis.
There are other reasons for the change in the development of sport, these are the improvement of technology and the wider audience.