A Professional Sportsperson is someone who devotes all of their energy to one sport in order to compete at the highest level and make it a career. They typically make their money through prize winnings and/or endorsements from sponsors such as Nike, Coke, and Tag Watches, to name a few.
It is not uncommon to hear about millionaire athletes who make a fortune from endorsement deals. Sportsmen deemed to be endowed with potential are already signing contracts involving large sums of money before they have truly proven their worth. Today, a sportsman’s worth is more likely to be determined by his contract than by his performance.
Of course, the allure of money cannot be underestimated. Sports are now careered rather than just hobbies, as they were in the past. Sportsmen hire agents who negotiate contracts with sponsors and clubs to ensure that they are adequately compensated for their efforts. In fact, each outstanding performance seems to fuel speculation about whether the club will increase the salary paid out under the existing contract in order to keep the athlete on board. It is not uncommon to hear of athletes refusing to renew their contracts until they receive increased pay and benefits. As a result, sports appear to have become a big business where money calls the shots.
Furthermore, the use of performance-enhancing drugs and match-fixing in sports is becoming more common. This could be because winning a gold medal in an international sporting event is a sure way to make money, as sponsorship and advertising deals are always worked out with the winners. Winning at any cost becomes an obsession as a result. Even in regional tournaments such as the Malaysia Cup, match-fixing was common, with players accepting bribes from bookmakers in order to lose games. As a result, the true thrill of sports is lost because the outcomes are predetermined by the bookmakers. This is bad news for the sport because it means that sports fans will be disgusted.
However, not all athletes are guilty of such behavior. There are athletes who seek more than just extrinsic rewards. A gold medal’s recognition is unquestionably more rewarding than money. Sports are challenges that the best athletes hope to overcome. In some countries, ardent sportsmen take on lower-paying jobs in order to pursue their passion. Many times, representing the country in international tournaments necessitates taking time off from work and even paying for one’s own expenses. These people are doing it for the sake of the game, not for the money.
The sense of accomplishment is more important to a true sportsman than monetary gain. They push themselves to the limits of their ability in order to maximize their potential. Unfortunately, in this day and age of television, viewership concerns have resulted in the ‘marketing’ of sports to promote products. Money has become an unavoidable part of sports, but the question is whether its motivation is primary or secondary.