October 04 2008 / by JohnNg / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Economics Year: General Rating: 2
The globalization of sports such as Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association has been a dream come true for the American sports economy, but now a plummeting U.S. dollar has created the conditions for a mass exodus of our top professional athletes. The result: Athletes like Kobe and Lebron are now openly entertaining the idea of playing overseas if income prospects there exceed what they’re currently earning on U.S. soil.
Basketball: The NBA has made the most significant jump globally. It all began in Barcelona with the original Olympic Dream Team of 1992. As American legends Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson tore it up on the court, future superstars Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki were watching from the stands, soaking up their unique styles of play. Gradually the foreign talent got better and soon earned roster spots on American NBA teams. Finally, this was capped by the emergence of Yao Ming, a 7’6” Chinese phenom selected first in the NBA draft. What ensued was the end of U.S. dominance in international play. At the same time, some big talent including the likes of the NBA’s Josh Childress signed with Greek League club Olympiacos and future college star Brandon Jennings have been lured away to play on the Italian League club Lottomatica Roma. Now, a falling U.S. dollar is threatening to erode the NBA itself.
It appears to be yet another unexpected consequence of accelerating change and a flattening world.
Baseball: The All-American Pastime has been a true global sport since before I was born. Latin America and Asia have been producing exceptional talent over the past 2 decades, a trend that shows no signs of slowing. Manny Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, Miguel Tejada and David Ortiz are just a few of the international players who became stars in the US. But according to a recent ESPN documentary, the MLB does not replace the talent that they take. The Japanese league refers to it as not replanting for the trees they cut. However, this could quickly stop, then reverse, if the dollar falls far enough.
Football: The National Football League is perhaps most resistant to globalization. It’s an American bred sport that hasn’t really caught on around the globe. Instead, the stadium sport of choice is soccer. But if other nations can lure away NFL franchises with the prospects of bigger financial markets, then perhaps this too will change, albeit very gradually. Until recently, there have been rumors of the Buffalo Bills moving to Toronto.