The rate at which products are consumed within today’s society is a spectacle to behold. And yet, this phenomenon is unfortunately normalized. With product consumption steadily becoming more of a concern with the younger generation, no one bats an eye when it comes to how sports are consumed and the fact that they are normalized as well.
This introduces the hyperconsumption of sports in relation to the youth. To put it simply, hyperconsumption is the consumption of expendable products that are accompanied by a mounting pressure to attain these products, as these products appear to have a hand in one’s own self-identity.
Circling back to those of a younger age, many children feel the need to get their hands on products that can seemingly improve their performance or give them the confidence to perform at a higher level. Don’t get me wrong, the desire to become better isn’t a bad thing, but the way in which sports and brands market to youth can be quite unpleasant.
Hyperconsumerism in sports comes in many forms, but usually arrives to the youth in a slew of adverse advertisements, big-name brands and persistent promotion. In addition, this type of marketing usually comes in tandem with a popular athlete from their respective professional sport doing the leg work, with these athletes popping up anywhere in billboards, commercials and nowadays in social media posts.
Having this model in mind, it’s easier to picture a child wanting to imitate their favorite athlete by purchasing the products they promote and use. Brands take note of the fact that the youth want to become like a professional athlete they see, so they advertise the fact that this is an achievable feat and that it can be achieved through the purchase of the brand’s product. Once this aspect is specifically marketed, brands don’t have to lift a finger as hyperconsumerism does the rest of the work.
But just because a product is heavily advertised, that doesn’t mean the product is automatically of good quality. For example, new sports equipment is released every year before a new season begins. Akin to back-to-school shopping, many young athletes flock to stores or to the internet to buy their next pair of cleats or a new baseball bat to prepare for the season, unaware that whatever they’re buying can just be the same piece of equipment as last year’s but with a new look to accompany it.
It’s no question that the hyperconsumption of sports at a young age is a vicious cycle — one that is difficult to get out of with innovative technology and better marketing on the rise. Despite this knowledge, more and more young athletes are pressured to buy and upgrade at a fast rate.
Nicolas Chacon is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].