What is the greater impact of a sport championship?

When a city wins a championship in one of the big 4 professional sports league in America which consists of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, what are the socio-economic implications to the winning city?

Why does it mean so much to the owners, athletes, and civilians of the city that win the championship.


View of the Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade

To narrow down my search criteria, I will focus on the National Basketball Association (NBA) and look into the most recent championship that occurred this past February. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Championship ending a title-less drought of 52 years. As a result, the city of Cleveland celebrated with a city-wide parade of 2.9 million entered the streets to commemorate the accomplishment of their cities own Cavaliers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the championship but I like to believe that they weren’t the real winners of the day. I hypothesis that the people who are shareholders of the team, mainly the owner which in this case Dan Gilbert, is the real winner of the day. From sky rocketing sales of championship memorabilia, increased reputation of the team, and team evaluations going up, the real winners of winning the championship is the owner. The players of the winning team also do well as many choose to leave the team in search for more lucrative deals from willing teams and the continuity of a championship team that once existed is left.

The real economic impact of a championship is rather hard to measure because of the “winning feeling” that arises after a championship. Time.com¬†back in 2014 estimates that LeBron James, the Cavaliers star player, is worth almost $500 million to the city of Cleveland.

The greater impact of a championship lies in the winning feeling that a championship brings. It is why owners spend hundreds of millions of dollars on their players and why cities can bond together and celebrate under a singular cause.

Thanks for the read!

-Sammy Lee

4 thoughts on “What is the greater impact of a sport championship?

  1. Meaghan Elizabeth Simone

    Interesting topic, but I feel like this is missing a lot of detail. While there is a lot of information on economic impact and such, I feel it would benefit you more if you could try and relate to science and things we learned in class. Also maybe considering changing up your writing format, as it kind of feels like everything is clumped together.

  2. Theodore Andrew Ochieng

    I think it would be interesting to compare the relationship between the “winning mentality” the city derives from winning a sports championship and the “community wellness” that come from channeling the sentimentality spent on sports into more community-building programs such as public squares, parks, libraries and so on.

    Sports are good community building activities but I feel their main problem is that after the season ends how long does the “winning mentality” last and how much does that “winning mentality” really boost the community? Is is worth the cost to a city in terms of stadiums and the costs associated with stadiums in order to build community or could that money and overall sentimentality be channeled towards items and activities that have a longer lasting positive impact on the community?

    I think that as a society we have overvalued the actual community-building that sports generates and there are other less expensive and more effective ways to build up a more vibrant, inclusive, community.

  3. Zachariah Watkins

    I agree yet also disagree with the theory that the Owner is the only true winner in sense of Socio-Economic terms. Think about Chicago when they beat the Indians in game 7 to clinch their first World Series since 1908, the pure euphoria felt throughout the city by the people goes deeper than money. Socially this is a pride point for the city of Chicago, people can rally around this. Economically, hosting the championship brings people to town and makes them spend money think about the 2.9 million people in Cleveland after they won the championship how many of them bought food, drinks, went to the mall, etc. I think championships help the people almost as much as the owner is helped. One question I have is do you believe hosting championships help more than actually winning them? Such as with the Olympics sure it cost money to build the stadiums but there are hundreds of thousands of people maybe even millions depending on the place that travel to the city and spend all their money there.

  4. Johann Michael Kok

    I feel like it means so much to the city mostly because of their pride in where they live. Sure the team owners make a lot of money from the increased ticket sales and merchandise purchased. I wonder how the city benefits and if there are any significant economic impacts.

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