Historically, man has places accolades and bestowed gifts upon the victor or conqueror in competition. In ancient Rome, a successful gladiator could win freedom. The Inca’s had a form of literal, winner take all basketball. Today, we have the world of sport that is blurred with entertainment and hype where there seems to be no shortage of people willing to pay more to see less, and any visible portion of the stadium, uniform, or merchandise will be filled with a sponsor.
I was looking at the media backdrops at the arena and looked at the mathematics behind the top sponsors and then the 10 lower ranked sponsors and how it appears a random number generator was used to place each logo in a position where some camera could pick up an “impression” albeit small and almost unintelligible to someone looking at video or a still photo of the foreground action.
Yesterday I wrote about “impressions” and how in our modern world it will simply escalate with noise and clutter as our technologies will have the capabilities of splurging out more and more information at you while the reality of your current brain function is that you can’t filter/siphon/distill or reduce that much data in a reasonable amount of time. your mind will think it is filtering, but the reality of future systems is that it will be taking your cues and shoving the programmed information it wants to tell you in a way that makes you think "i" did it. all in the ambient background you never notice is even there.
Today, they just send big images and few words. Professional photojournalists are a dying breed and everyone who can click a shutter thinks they are a photographer, so distillation further erodes the targeted message to one of not even a shotgun blast, but more of a water balloon breaking on the street and hoping it gets something wet.
The good news for a professional athlete today is that the television rights are so high, that a brief career in any professional sport can set up the person for the rest of their life. The downside we don’t hear too much about is that when you give someone who really has never had much, a whole lot at one time, usually they have no idea how to wisely use it. I think it is 70 % of professional athletes are broke a few years after leaving the game.
The athlete today can get along with god given talent, but to get to the professional levels, usually a boatload of sacrifice, discipline and work has to go into getting the brass ring and all the accolades of free stuff, meals, babes and anything else shoved at them from people who want to someone connect that they are part of the system. People will buy someone’s meal for a quick photo. Drinks are sent along. Hotel lobbies are staked out not by paparazzi, but women who want to hit the pro athlete lifestyle lottery by scoring with a player.
At the executive level, you have people making decisions with a while lot of money and a lot of people trying to be part of some event or lifestyle. The funny thing with groupies is that it isn’t just rock stars, but also athletes, politicians, and any human with power of money. Perhaps that is why I admire those like Neil Armstrong that appeared to keep his head screwed on with all the fame and accolade he could have taken – and no one would have blinked if he did.
Today’s athletes are no different than thoroughbred racehorses. With our Augmanity technologies we have an idea for transporting racehorses from the stables in Japan and the Middle East to various races. We want to do the same with people to help with jet lag, but only first class people and perhaps the business class seat make it cost effective. For the majority, the economy class, I guess another movie is what one gets?
I digress; the athletes today are very much like racehorses. They had a gift, worked hard, were good, got noticed and someone realized the possibility that this person would be great one day. I think for every NBA player, the odds are 1 in 30,000 among active high school players that someone will make the professional level.
The reason for the elitist treatment of professional athletes it two fold. The first is that there is a very small talent pool of people good enough to compete at that level. (We will leave the performance enhancing drugs for another session) the second reason is that television and broadcast revenues have simply kept going up for the teams and owners have to pay a lot of money for one of the rare talents to keep the sport fair between the players, union and owners collective.
How rare is it for some kid in high school to be a pro. If you were in Las Vegas and asked to bet with the following odds, how many of you would actually wager?
Major league baseball – 0.6%
American Football – 0.08%
Ice Hockey- 0.1%
Basketball – 0.03%
Football – 0.04%
The global sports market will be about 145.billion dollars in 2015. And blending of entertainment with sport – the experience is what will be the big winner. Getting people to sit and watch and think they are part of something that is bigger and more hyped than the reality of what it provides our society.
Either that or we really are in trouble with the value system we have placed upon life.
What worries me is what the technologies of the future will allow for sport/entertainment & social experiences and what it is to be human and live. Or to live in a world where you are programmed and can’t even recognize it.
“Everything today is exaggerated because of the media and global communication.” Steve wynn 2009