In case you haven’t seen the news, the world of soccer is awash in rumors of a coaching carousel at some of the world’s largest clubs. Manchester United, for example, is allegedly considering replacing its high-profile coach after less than two seasons. They could be replacing him with Jose Mourinho, who was fired by Chelsea less than three years into his second term with the club. Or Mourinho could be hired by Manchester City, who is looking to replace a manager who less than two years ago helped the club win the league.
In the same way that fans now speculate constantly over which players a team will trade for or sign as free agents, managers and coaches are now source of constant pressure. Win or be replaced by the greener grass on the other side, the head coaches of all major sports teams feel a sword of Damocles over them at all times. Depending on the expectations, a single loss can mean you need to update your resume.
Why are fans’ expectations so unrealistic compared to past years, when head coaches could stay years, even decades in the same position? One reason I think is the rising amount of money in sports. Take Manchester United for example. According to the Manchester United website, the cheapest adult season ticket is roughly $788 dollars for 19 home Premier League matches, with buyers required to purchase tickets to home cup matches. This is not even the most egregious price for a season ticket in the Premier League, but costs add up. Taking a friend to a match, buying beer and a bite, buying a jersey, and your one day excursion adds up. Attending a sporting event and following a team is expensive; thus when your team does not meet its expectations it is logical to be especially mad that they do not uphold the end of an expensive bargain.
Maybe the money in sports is having an unintended consequence.