Sports Owners’ Responsibilies

What responsibilities do professional sports franchise owners truly have? Do they only have a responsibility to themselves and other shareholders to make a profit? Or does the business of sports require more complex and different ethical considerations?

Consider this example: In 2020 the Green Bay Packers are a poor team and have been for a few years. Attendance is declining as the city itself is on the decline and the lack of a large market has revenue plummeting. Now, as a strictly business decision, a move to somewhere like Los Angeles might be a home run. A huge market, new fans, and increased revenue. However, that would be an atrocity in Green Bay and Wisconsin in general. Does the owner have a responsibility to the fans or should he/she always be on the look out for an opportunity to increase profits? In this same situation, the owner could also cut star players and slash salaries and stadium improvements to save money. Is this a good idea? Does the owner only have obligations to the shareholder, or are their other stakeholders (fans, communities, etc) that the owner is also obligated to consider? Does the shareholder vs stakeholder argument translate perfectly to sports, or is it a little different?


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