100 Years Ago: Professional Sports Are Big Business

A century ago, the Post editors complained that promoters and the media were stoking Americans’ hunger for sports and boosting revenues. Where would it end?

People entering the stadium for for Game 1 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium, October 1923 (Library of Congress)

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—Read “Sport and Frenzied Finance,” an editorial from the January 19, 1924, issue of The Saturday Evening Post

The average American is a sporting-page addict with the capacity to absorb two whole pages of its news and gossip at least once a day. He reads everything, and it is easy to fan his interest in even an unpromising match. He is kept on tenterhooks until the fight articles are signed. Rumors of all kinds run through the sporting columns like a rash. Opinions of all kinds of people are collected and printed. So it is not strange that finally he mills his way into the arena to witness a second-rate fight and contribute his share of the million-dollar gate.

The newspapers are largely to blame for this bloating of professional sports. With two or three pages to fill every day, the sporting editor seizes upon anything that offers scope for comment.

Competitive sports and frenzied finance should never go hand in hand. We are fast approaching the stage when championships will be won with check books, and adding machines will be of more importance than athletes.


Read the entire article “Sport and Frenzied Finance” from the January 19, 1924, issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

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