What would you pay to watch doped athletes?

So Floyd Landis admits he was cheating all along.  Steroids were what he  was all he was caught for, but obviously he doesn’t want people to think he is a one-trick pony, so now he boasts of also doing blood doping.  Not that any of us is surprised, I’m sure we all never really believed Landis’s claims of innocence and the those-stupid-European-labs-don’t-know-how-to-test argument.

Landis has now clearly decided that if he is going down, he might as well take down ex-teammate Lance Armstrong too.  So he talks about how Armstrong also practiced blood doping. Sure, Lance Armstrong has denied it. Obviously, he has not been infected with Landis’s sudden frankness and spirit of complete disclosure. But did Landis really think Armstrong would admit it so easily?  He has been cycling through years of doping allegations, consistently denying them.  He (Armstrong) hasn’t been caught, yet.

Now that he is back to cycling and has his legacy to think of ..  we will probably never know. Unless, in a few years, he retires and gets a million dollar book deal to tell all.


Pic courtesy The Onion

It’s not just cycling, there have been allegations of doping in so many sports this last decade. There is baseball, football, rugby, ice hockey and any number of Olympic events.  Wikipedia lists pages and pages of banned sportspersons.

If there are so many sportspersons who have been caught, I’m sure there are many more who have managed to evade being caught by staying one jump ahead of the progress in testing. I’m sure coaches and physiologists are endlessly inventive.

There have been doping allegations in cricket too – in the last IPL, for instance, and a few cricketers (Shoaib Akthar, Shane Warne) have also tested positive for banned substances.

Let’s assume that future tests find many more cricket players testing positive.  Given the exorbitant IPL ticket prices (Rs 2000?  Rs 5000?  Who even pays Rs 15,000?) I was wondering what audience expectations would be from these games.

I’m curious – would people’s enjoyment of a game change if they knew the athlete/player was on drugs? How much would you pay to watch a doped athlete ?

(There is, of course, the even more cynical view that the game is fixed anyway and players’ doping is irrelevant).

What do you think?



8 thoughts on “What would you pay to watch doped athletes?

  1. Interesting thought and the question that follows.
    I’m not quite sure if the public would payup to watch doped atheletes play but then, imagine a sceanrio where each one is doped and am sure then people will again be least bothered and the game will continue as usual. Doping companies could start contracting players, run adverts n what not.
    Scary thought even to imagine such a day. I just hope to see my fav sport F1 stay out of this. 🙂

    • If everyone was doped, that would level the playing field somewhat, wouldn’t it? Unless some performance-enhancing substances are superior to others…

      I cannot see how steroids would boost performance in F1, but perhaps anxiety-reducing drugs, or substances that help focus or concentration could be used.

  2. It will be a sad day when we cease being appalled by doping scandals in sports. That will be such a disservice to athletes who achieve their results through honest, hard work. Like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
    I wonder how these athletes (those who have cheated by doping) live with themselves and their “achievements”.

    • It’s an “end justifies the means” thinking. Those athletes who cheated would not have been as successful or rich without taking those drugs (or at least, they certainly believed so). I guess the more money there is in a sport, the greater the incentive to dope.

  3. Aren’t people who pay excessively to watch ‘athletes’, dopes in the first place ?
    physical body and its ‘achievements’ are not all that there is, is it ?

  4. Would be a good first step.

    Btw, you won’t have to pay anything.

    But of course, it takes a more settled and wise mind to make such a decision. Brainwashed zombies who pay to ogle at others doing circus are unable to do so.


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