We all know that, more than ever before, the business side of pro sports is just as important to teams as the sport itself, but how far is too far?
Whether it’s an athlete losing endorsements because of slip-ups in his or her personal life (Tiger Woods, for example) or a sponsor threatening to pull its money over a league’s decision (Air Canada’s empty threats to the NHL), it’s all about the almighty dollar in pro sports these days. Here’s one I’ve never seen before though – I honestly thought this story from Britain’s The Guardian was an April Fools’ joke when I first read it:
“Standard Chartered wants Liverpool to sign more players from Asia.”
Imagine my surprise when I read the article and realized that it wasn’t a joke at all – the bank says it wants the team to sign some Asian players so that it can “exploit one of [its] largest markets.” Is this really happening? Are they really telling the team that they want them to buy players based on nationality first and skill second? Do they not understand how soccer works? (more…)