Sports federations have had a tremendous cultural and social impact on American life in the past, and continue to do so, despite the economic impact of the coronavirus. In fact, the Big Four as they became known are shown in homes, screens, and stadiums across America and around the world. This is reflected not only in their incredible popularity but also in the money they make flowing through them. Nowadays the sport is dominated by wealth and it is money that drives teams to be at the top. The Big Four, consisting of MLB (Major League Baseball), NFL (National Football League), NHL (National Hockey League) and NBA (National Basketball Association), make up the 4 of the 5 richest leagues in the world, regardless of America. In fact, only the English Premier League can make money from these leagues in the world, which shows the importance of American sport in the world. So without further ado, let̵
The NFL (National Football League) in America is the most lucrative sports league in the world. American football is apparently played primarily in the US and Canada, but finds its way to global audiences through massive TV deals, the Super Bowl, and the sports betting market that surrounds it. Millions of fans go to bookmakers to bet online with sites like the USBL (the US Betting League). With recent annual sales of $ 13 billion, this league is by far the richest in the world and has 29 out of 50 of the richest sports franchises in the world, according to Forbes. With television viewers generally declining in the United States, American football viewership remains extremely high. This means that TV deals in sport are massive and add cumulative wealth to this already profitable sport, as huge networks pay a lot of money for the rights to the league. Not only that, but the endorsements, advertisements, sponsorship and fantasy football that are all involved in the game add to the richness of this gigantic sport.
The National Basketball Association is a newer league in the world but has grown to become a serious star in a relatively short time. As of the post-war year 1946 in America, the NBA is now the third highest sport in the world. Unlike the NFL, basketball is hugely popular around the world, and as such, the NBA generates a lot of profit and interest from people outside the US. This popularity adds to the wealth of the league in general. In addition, the huge TV offerings at national and local level help the teams generate a lot of additional income. Forbes found that in 2019, for the first time ever, all NBA franchises in the league were worth more than $ 1 billion – with the most valuable team, the New York Knicks, valued at roughly $ 3.6 billion. Dollar! Unlike other leagues on this list, the NBA has seen an increasing surge in ticket sales for the stadium live games. Visitor numbers have skyrocketed and continue to break records for the number of people who show up. Culturally, it has become more common for big celebrities to support their favorite team, which may add to the desire for people who want to leave.
The National Hockey League (NHL) is the only league that was founded in Canada but played on both sides of the border. Due to its dual popularity in both Canada and the US, TV rights can be split evenly between the two countries, increasing revenue for the league. While none of the league’s individual teams make it into the top 50 Forbes sports franchises, the league is popular because of the TV deals it has acquired over the years, its traditional roots, and the places it’s popular – North America and Northern Europe where there is a large amount of disposable income for fans ready to pump it into the sport. Although it ranks in the top 5 richest leagues in the world, the sport itself doesn’t even manage to reach the top 10 most popular sports in the world!
The last of the Big Four that we need to address is the MLB. Major League Baseball is the second richest sport in the world and has a strong American focus. This shows how much North America likes its sport. The sport is valued at around $ 10 billion and is mainly brought in through local TV deals in US dollars. For example, Spectrum SportsNet LA and the Los Angeles Dodgers struck a television deal worth over $ 8 billion in 2014. With the 25-year contract, the team earned over $ 200 million in one year alone. These are incredibly large sums of money that can only be made with TV rights and are a key factor in the prosperity of the sport. In addition, the price of participating in games has increased since 2006. This has led to a huge increase in profits, but recently lost sales due to a drop in visitor numbers. Maybe something that the sport needs to address?
Overall, the sports leagues in North America, and especially the US, are very popular in the vast country, but also around the world, and the television rights, advertising and sponsorship in the leagues, as well as their huge fan base, have resulted in serious wealth accumulation in these sports leagues .
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