Sports have long been an essential part of American culture. They provide common experiences and create connections across people.
Today’s episode features three topics that show how sports are increasingly intertwined with the larger culture.
In the first block, we discuss Aaron Rodger’s current role as host of Jeopardy. It’s an athlete leveraging sports fame to take a shot at becoming an entertainer. It might seem far fetched to think that Rodgers could become a game show host, but how many better ways are there for an athlete to have a post sports career. Also, Alex Trebek made about $10 million per year.
In our second segment, we talk about LeBron James’ Space Jam reboot. At least for me, this one feels off. Are Loony Tunes still relevant to kids? Is Space Jame 2 needed? Why is LeBron repeating Michael’s brand-building strategy? And, efforts to switch industries seldom work out for celebrities.
In our third act, we tiptoe around the recent decision of MLB to take the All-Star Game away from Atlanta. Obama has praised MLB, and Trump is calling for a boycott. Local business leaders are now taking sides and supporting opposition to the bill. In contrast, the Washington Post has labeled President Biden’s analysis of the law as 4 Pinocchios.
Politics and sports have become almost one over the last couple of years. No reason to rehash too much, but it’s a tough moment for MLB and the Braves. I’ll make two quick points.
First, as is always the case, these stories likely won’t have a catastrophic effect on the sport. Fans have too much loyalty and love for their teams. The danger is the slow degradation of fandom. When Braves fans think about their team, they may now think about a fight between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp. No Braves fan wants that.
Second, this moment feels a little different. I don’t think anyone has any room to maneuver. If a corporate executive calls a state’s voting racist, it will be difficult to justify having a working relationship with the responsible party. And at this point, Brian Kemp and other Republicans can’t retreat without completely losing their base.
The Georgia sports curse continues.