It’s Time We Put Professional Sports Under Review

by Andrew Vincenti, Staff Writer

As an avid sports fan, I often see the importance of professional sports be overlooked, and viewed by many as an unnecessary distraction. In reality, professional sports improve the livelihoods of people and help form caring and enthusiastic communities.

In 2013, the Milwaukee Bucks, an NBA organization that was losing and struggling to bring in fans (they ranked 27th out of 30 teams), drafted a little known Greek player by the name of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Since then, the Bucks, behind their two time MVP, have rebounded as a franchise: winning a championship and recording improved attendance.

Okay, great story, but why does this matter? The incredible rebound of the Bucks franchise has caused what researchers dub “The Giannis Effect.” Winning has a strong correlation to revenue made for the city: a single playoff game in Milwaukee generates $3 million dollars in the downtown alone in addition to creating 700 jobs. Since Antetokounmpo’s arrival, the Bucks have made the playoffs nearly every year. While most NBA franchises have grown in value by roughly 300% since 2013, the Milwaukee Bucks have grown by 400%. Giannis’s billion dollar effect on the city of Milwaukee shows the tangible benefits of a strong sports community.

Even if you look internationally, following Argentina’s 2022 World Cup victory, millions took to the streets in celebration, uplifting a nation marked by poverty. In addition to the morale boost, this victory also caused an economic boom.

Professional sports also helps bring people together and promote change. Following the recent life-threatening injury of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, the entire football community including players, organizations, and fans came together in support. They not only sent prayers Hamlin’s way but also donated millions of dollars to his charity to buy toys for less-fortunate children and fund programs to support youth education and athletics. This is just one of many instances of a sports community coming together to accomplish something great. Professional sports, in addition to providing moral and economic benefits to cities and nations, improves communities through charitability. Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James founded the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio to improve the educational opportunities for the local youth. The school is posting great results, as the third and fourth grade classes in 2019 produced extraordinary test scores and even outpaced their peers.

Professional sports truly have a great impact on society: bettering the livelihoods of many, uplifting communities in need, and even promoting charitable deeds. Professional sports has even helped me bond with friends and family, whether it’s going to big games or watching from home. Something as pure and fun as sports can truly bring people together and inspire change like nothing else can.