The biggest problem facing many sports today is over administration. By that we mean administrators who are interfering with the essence of the sport, for reasons that they claim will make it more marketable.
Sport has been around forever and a day. It will always have its followers, its players, its coaches, and its coverage in the media. Sure there are ways that you can improve in all of these areas, but the sport as a game will survive, as long as you do not kill it.
In the last ten years the sport that we do not mention has marketed itself superbly in Australia, and is without doubt the market leader. However warning signs are there, because they are tampering with the rules too much. The average spectator is now confused and the spectacle they pay to watch is not what they want. If they lose interest your marketing will be for nought.
Rugby Union is facing the same predicament. Free-flowing rugby is becoming a thing of the past as the rules are seeing a more rugby league style game. Ironic, when Union said when they went professional that league would die. Unless you are over 100kgs and six foot tall there is no place in the game for you.
One fan pointed out after witnessing England at Twickenham at the weekend, that you no longer get value for money. His ticket was 80 pounds for 80 minutes entertainment. Yet as he stated there was probably ten minutes of ‘touch-pause engage’ and the scrum collapsing. At a pound a minute that is not what you pay to watch.
Football, the world game is one of the few sports that has seen very few changes in its rules, although the offside rule still takes some explaining. Is one of the keys to its success and marketability the fact that its administrators have avoided tampering with the rules?
Tennis and Golf are two more sports that maintain their strength, as they too have no need to tamper with laws and rules.
Cricket has tried to embrace technology, which is applaudable, however it has still not managed to get it right. Umpires understandably now no longer make decisions as they could be shown to have erred on one of the many angles of replay shown. Decisions when referred to the third umpire take too long to be made.
Television’s technology has in fact, we believe, harmed the game. The snick-o-meter to determine a noise if the ball has clipped the bat is a prime example. The laws of the game do not say the umpire must have heard a noise to give a batsman out, but that he must have seen the ball deviate off the edge.
Sport in the modern day is worth millions of dollars a year, but it needs to be careful that it does not out price itself from the common man, its fan, or over administrate and hence take away the spectacle. The warning signs are there. Let us hope that those charged with governing sport take heed.