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  • Writer's pictureDel Chatterson

Business of Golf vs Hockey

When the seasons overlap, it's hard not to notice the differences between hockey and golf as businesses.

The PGA Tour is almost unique in that it is owned and operated by the players themselves (maybe ATP tennis is similar). For NHL hockey (and most other major league sports) the owners are often in opposition to the players and their union. It's almost socialism versus capitalism. Or at least democracy and active participation in the business versus rampant exploitation of the hired help. (borderline slavery?)

So which is better? And for whom?

For the owners, the PGA is better run and more consistently profitable. Hockey team owners are willing to indulge their vanity with huge losses. For the players, both sports seem to do very well for the top performers. But the PGA is strictly based on personal performance - you earn what you win. Thousands don't make the grade for the Tour and work for basic wages at the local course.

For hockey players, they have the protection of team mates helping them win and their agents and the union protecting their earnings. Still thousands don't make it to the big show and take their lunps in lessor leagues.

What about the paying customers?

Both sports essentially are selling entertainment to their fans and the sponsors. It seems to work. You might argue that fans get more for their money at a golf tournament, but you have to accept that the price is determined by the market and hockey fans (in some cities) are fanatic enough to pay whatever it takes to see a game. TV audiences and commercial sponsors confirm that the fans are there. For golf there is the "Tiger factor". And his new notoriety just adds to the attraction when he's playing.

No conclusion - just observations. Make your own choices.

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