A Matter of Scale.
For most of the twentieth century mass-entertainment spectator sports have been big business. American sporting contests have been commercialized to varying degrees since their inception, contrary to claims of some critics who yearn for a time when games were not sullied by money. Throughout the 1980s sports enjoyed unprecedented financial prosperity and mass popularity, even eclipsing the so-called Golden Age of Sport during the 1920s, when, in the words of Roderick Nash, "the nation went sports crazy." Without a doubt money dramatically changed the sporting world during the 1980s; those changes, however, were primarily a matter of scale, not kind. For instance, the amount of money generated from television contracts for the broadcast rights to professional leagues, big-time college athletics, and the Olympics increased tremendously. In 1982 television revenue provided $14 million a year per NFL team. By the 1990 season the per-team annual payout had risen to $26 million. As early as the 1980 season 30 percent of Major League Baseball's revenue was derived from television contracts, and in 1988 CBS agreed to pay $1.1 billion to televise four years worth of the national pastime. In 1989 NBC won the right to televise NBA basketball games for four years for $600 million. The NCAA signed a billion-dollar deal with CBS for the television rights to the men's college basketball...
(The entire section is 2735 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of 1980's Sports Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!