The relationship between business and sports in this play seems to be related to outward modes of success. Willy's perspective on business and sports is one that remains rather childish until the very end. He believes that success is the same as "being well liked" and this sort of admiration defines the sports star and the successful businessman.
Business and sports are both very competitive. In each, you have to be the best or you are nothing. Death of a Salesman explores the effects of the constant drive for success. Both sports figures and high-powered businessmen, especially salesmen, often have short shelf lives. After a while there will be someone younger, better educated, more ruthless, and more physical to take over. In each field, success is everything. It is an end in itself. People destroy themselves trying to get there.