Martin Smith column: we’re spoilt for sporting choice

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill - worth every penny
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill - worth every penny
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It’s hard to know which way to turn.

Open golf, test cricket, Davis Cup tennis and all against a backdrop of the never-never land of football transfers.

Then there’s the Tour De France, the women’s Ashes, the Hungarian Grand Prix and the Anniversary Games this weekend where Jessica Ennis-Hill will compete in the 200m and long jump.

In this best of all possible sports-watching worlds the inequities of access - the fact that some can afford to watch live and others can’t - are blurred by the immediacy of social media and the fact that you can’t move on the internet for replays, edited highlights packages, conjecture and controversial comment.

Time was when you either had a ticket or you didn’t.

You either had the money for the turnstile and the fare to the ground or you were stuck waiting for the results on BBC news or in the stop press of The Star.

We oldies might get nostalgic for those simpler days but the truth is that the quantity and quality of sport available all around the world has never been better.

Sure it’s international business rather than local lads wearing the shirt of their team but it’s a bigger more connected world now and sport is massive.

In the relatively open and largely free society that we live in this country why shouldn’t top sports stars earn mega-bucks?

Who deserves to earn more - Jessica Ennis Hill for winning the Olympic gold and the hearts of the world or a hedge fund manager shifting units on his laptop in Canary Wharf?

The fact that our society grossly undervalues the work of nurses, teachers, carers and others who provide vital services isn’t the fault of Andy Murray or Christian Benteke. There are a lot wrong things wrong with the world but sport, generally speaking, isn’t one of them.

Yes there are drug problems, corruption at FIFA, match-fixing scandals.

No human activity is untainted by our imperfections.

But elite sport is faster, stronger better than it ever has been and more people are able to see it than ever before.

Billions of pounds are being made from global audiences and quite rightly a large chunk of that is going to the sports men and women who achieve.

Never in the field of sporting conflict have so many paid so much to so few.

Long may it continue.