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Greed In Sport

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives Topics:  Triumph Herald

Greed In Sport

Geoff Maxted
November 16, 2013

Classic F1 Racing
Mrs DriveWrite loves to watch ski-jumping and biathlon. To me, they work like an instant sleeping pill the size of a gobstopper; but there is one thing about them that I do like. The purity: the lack of any sense that the sports are solely about money. Obviously there is sponsorship and advertising but it maintains at a reasonable level.

This is the case with many ‘minority’ sports. Competitors participate because they love it and not because they know they will enjoy a massive payday. Spectators know this and enjoy the event even more. Football, on the other hand, seems to me to be about money alone and, apart from the adoration of the tifosi, this puts the casual viewer off despite the ludicrous amount of money just spent by BT Sport (and I wouldn‘t have BT back in the house if they paid me). That and the glorification of some thick Herberts who couldn’t find their own backsides in a mirrored bathroom.

Formula I is another case in point. I love the spectacle of motor racing and at national and club level there’s plenty going on. My issue is with the top echelon of motorsport and particularly with individuals like the poisonous geezer in the snap below.

Obviously it’s an expensive business. Apart from being a racing machine, the F1 car is also a sort of test bed. Many excellent innovations have filtered down into the cars we drive today. I don’t even mind the drivers earning a decent wedge either. They put their lives on the line. It’s what goes on behind the scenes. The vast sums of money that change hands just to get an event put on and this is always reflected where it hurts the most - the ticket price.

I no longer go to any Grand Prix. Not just because of the inflated prices that make rich backroom boys richer but also because of all the fiddling about. Right now, F1 seems to be more about tyre issues and team orders than actual racing when I’m sure all the drivers want to do is race.

Every year we hope that the new rules will make racing closer and more competitive but it never seems to happen. Because of its ultra-high profile, it is F1 that has to constantly be cleaning up its act and it is the sport that ultimately suffers.

In the same way that it is said that tourists ruin the very thing they’ve come to support so, in all sports, success breeds money and money mars the success. Professional road cycle racing (I used to be a huge fan) is a case in point and, because of the prize money and lucrative sponsorship involved these days, athletics has come under the drug spotlight as competitors strive to stay on top. Excess all areas.

The end result is that sports fans like me become indifferent to the sports we used to love and it‘s all down to money. F1 has gone the same way. It is often boring. It is expensive. It is constrained by the whims of the money men. Surely it is time for a change.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with local racing, rally and rallycross. Motorsport that is accessible, reasonably priced and always fun yet never gets the media exposure it deserves; and why’s that? Money. It’s either that or start watching ski-jumping. If I can stay awake.

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