Around the world there is a shared idea that money equals victory. In Europe, where soccer reigns supreme, the worth of some sports teams is greater than that of several first world countries. We are talking about multi-billion dollar companies dedicated to entertaining the masses.
Are you not entertained?
Forbes puts out an annual list of the the world’s most valuable sports teams. When the World Cup started in June, that team was Real Madrid. It made the top of the list at a value of $3.44 billion, bringing in more revenue than any other sports team in the world. With said budget and no salary cap, the recruiters for the team can walk up to almost any player in the world and say, “We have the money, name your price.”
Hitting closer to home, the New York Yankees came in fourth on the list at a worth of $2.5 billion. The Yankees have a legacy of winning, and that’s because they had the money to get the best athletes in the world.
But is it all worth it?
In recent years, many teams in various sports have adopted a “moneyball” style of recruiting, where, instead of throwing millions of dollars around to get the star athletes, they use their money to find potentially great players and develop them into super stars.
In last season’s Champions League final, Real Madrid had amassed quite a team for their money. Their opposing was a team, ironically, from the same city by the name of Athletico Madrid. They did not even break half a billion dollars, only being valued at $328 million, and yet they were almost crowned the European club champions.
In the U.S., though the Yankees are worth so much, they have not been a great team for at least five years. In contrast, unknown teams like the Oakland Athletics and the Kansas City Royals are both upsetting big name money teams and proving their skills are just as good if not better than the teams with big bank accounts.
Locally, Real Salt Lake is known for two things: low salaries and exceptional players. Since they won their first MLS Cup in 2009, they have been a major contender in both the playoffs and the MLS Cup Final.
In the most recent World Cup, several players were selected by their countries to play for the chance to win. Their net worth? Only $85 million.
The verdict: you may be able to buy the most skilled players in the world, but it doesn’t guarantee you will be the very best. Like any industry, sports requires hard work and good effort by everyone involved. And if a team wants it bad enough they will find a way to overcome the odds and prove to the world that they really are great.
Being great isn’t about the money. Skill and talent can’t be bought. But winning, that comes with heart.
Charles can be found @cbowkstar_91 or cheering at any Wildcat sporting event.