Separation of Sport and State
"I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense." — H.L. Mencken
We do not have to loathe sports as Mencken did to see his point.
When it comes to international sports, common sense is being ignored and tossed to the wayside.
Consider the World Cup.
The scarce resources involved in implementing many of the events involve state intervention.
For instance, the government of Ghana will reportedly give each member of its national soccer team $20,000 for each game they win. This award is being financed through taxes collected via coercion. In addition, various levels of German government (city, state, and federal) provided over €600 million to fund stadium construction and maintenance for the event.
Yet given the level of enthusiasm and even hysteria that follows the World Cup, is it not obvious that this industry would be viable if funded on a purely voluntary basis?
Other notable examples of jingoism include the 1936 Berlin Olympics involving the Nazi übermensch as well as the kidnapping of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. In addition, as it has been argued before, the construction of stadiums serves as a backdrop for inspiring nationalism and regionalism, with the net effect of buoying state intervention (through taxes, subsidies, zoning, and eminent domain).
There is no need to look further than your local recreation center, as funded and administrated by the local government. They sponsor baseball, softball, soccer, and a dozen other sports activities for kids. Their parks are owned and operated by the city and paid for by your tax dollars — all the better for instilling an early sense in kids that the state is their benefactor.
Why are these run at taxpayer expense? Any number of excuses are offered: tradition, civic pride, economic viability. All the rationales falter. Local churches and fraternal organizations preserve tradition and culture and they are private. Cities across the country take pride in many commercial institutions. As for economic viability, entrance and parking fees, concession stands, team sponsorship, and advertisers could cover costs, especially since coaches and players are all volunteers at this level.
On what basis are they not immediately privatized? Private companies could build the parks, run the concessions, manage the teams, and provide all related services — in the same way developers put together huge commercial towns of shops and amusements. They do not do it now because the city crowds out the competition.
From State Intervention to Organizational Inefficiencies
John Hagel's seminal piece on Unbundling the Corporation dissects some of the problems plaguing vertical integration in an ever increasing world of specialization. In essence, he proposes that in an era of decreasing transaction costs — which he calls "interaction costs" — firms should move towards specializing in core areas, rather than diverting productive resources to unrelated activities.
Vertical integration is simply another name for the aggregate of "public goods" provided by governments. The state continually takes on responsibilities and enterprises that could otherwise be done through the specialization of private, independent firms. Unbundling in this case would be another name for privatizing and deregulating industries.
It has been similarly noted that "Web 2.0" has and will continue to be a tour de force in the area of higher education, effectively Unbundling the University — a la carte degrees, an end to accreditation cartels, open access journals, digital libraries, etc.
For instance, in order to finance their athletic and intramural programs, many colleges typically levy a universal fee for each student. This is a classic case of "That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen" as the subsidy not only redistributes wealth that could have otherwise been used in other productive manners (e.g., engineering lab equipment, or simply not charging at all thereby allowing students to use the monies in alternative endeavors) but it also erects an artificially high barrier to entry for outside competition (e.g., privately funded minor league and semi-pro teams).
Similarly, unbundling musical clubs not just from schools but also from the tentacles of state financing could also be surmised (e.g., subsidies paid by coercive taxation to city orchestras and official art districts).
In addition, unbundling the monopolistic chess club, the thespian club, the juggling club, and 4-H are all practical applications of this concept. Even the formal endorsement of the Boy Scouts from Congress gives the organization a government-granted monopoly on boyish outdoor shenanigans and erects artificial barriers to entry that other private organizations must now endure.
While unbundling should not be undertaken for the sake of merely doing it, its economic ramifications have such profound long-term effects on business models that it should not be ignored. (Remember: the state is also a business, but it operates through principles of coercion and not P/L.) Nor does this mean that the traditional pomp and circumstance of athletic events will falter.
As the late, Rodney Dangerfield put it, "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out."
 At least €620 million in either direct financing or loan guarantees was provided by these governmental divisions. For more information, visit the FIFA World Cup section hosted at Yahoo and visit the stadium information at each location.
 Membership with FIFA is entirely voluntary as it receives funds voluntarily from its members, donors, sponsors, etc. In fact, they are actually profitable as they receive millions annually in both membership dues and licensing fees. Furthermore, FIFA itself does not coerce people to attend, but the way it organizes events almost always involves the state (via stadium construction). It is the same kind of problem that the IOC faces with setting up venues based on the nation-state paradigm. In fact, for the most part, no tax dollars go to fund the US National Soccer Team itself as it is all sponsorship and membership based (they are a non-profit organization). For more on FIFA, see Foul! by Andrew Jennings.
 Two more recent examples of subsidized stadium construction: (1) On July 1, 2005 Sedgwick County Kansas started collecting a one percent sales tax for the next 30 months. The Sedgwick County Arena will be a 15,000 basketball seat, multi-purpose entertainment arena, with a cost of $184.5 million. As of this writing they have collected over $58 million. (2) If you rent a car or stay in a hotel in San Antonio (and in many other cities with professional sport franchises), note the "Spurs Arena Tax" which collects approximately $15 million annually.
 Who is to say that playing a contact sport such as football or wrestling should be encouraged in the first place, let alone subsidized by the state? Currently there is a movement by ne'erdowellers such as Jack Thompson to try to link aggressive behavior with "violent" video games — this despite any clear, objective longitudinal research on the matter. Yet the debate surrounding aggressive tendencies and contact sports such as football and ice hockey — where physical aggression is encouraged, institutionalized, and empirically known to manifest itself off the field — is seemingly non-existent. See also, Wired magazine's article on managing a guild in World of Warcraft.
 Another topic that could fill volumes is the use of state-monopolized services (e.g., roads). This circumstance has sometimes given rise to "partnerships" in ski resort towns such as Vail and Aspen, along with theme parks managed by Six Flags and Disney World. Similarly, all-inclusive mega-resorts found along the Las Vegas Strip and seaside resorts maintained by Club Med may strike subsidization deals with the state. These deals usually surround infrastructure development (roads, walkways) where there is no private enterprise due to State monopolization. Such was the case in planning the new San Francisco Giants baseball stadium as it included $15 million for roads and sidewalks provided by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, which is fully funded via taxation. Contrast this with the Mexican government, who artificially spearheaded the development of the beaches of Cancun during the 1960's and '70s. Their pet program cost Mexican taxpayers millions, with projects ranging from roads and sidewalks to water-treatment plants and an airport - some of which was destroyed by Hurrican Wilma last year.
 According to their Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act on file for the 2004-2005 fiscal year, the University of Colorado at Boulder allocated approximately $1.5 million in student fees to fund their varsity athletic programs. Similarly, in the same time frame, nearly $1.7 million in student fees was dispersed to fund varsity athletics at the University of Texas at Austin. For information on other schools, visit the Department of Education Office of Post Secondary Education website. Or for faster results, simply type "EADA" and the school name into a search engine.
 Does this mean the end of Big Sports? Not necessarily, as franchise owners can use innovative methods from individuals like Mike Veeck as a case-study to effectively adjust their business models and remain profitable.