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Growing up, we have been told repeatedly – winning is not as important as competing.   Events like the Olympics, with the famed Olympic spirit mantra, reinforce this message.  But how pragmatic is this notion of ‘competing’ as opposed to ‘winning’. Let us leave philosophy aside for a bit and look at this question from a purely commercial angle.

Both Roger Federer and David Nalbandian have been in the professional tennis circuit for around the same amount of time.  Early evidence suggests that both of them were equally talented (with David winning almost all matches he played against Roger).  But over the years Roger has figured out how to win – not just against David but also against the other players.  As of now - Roger has taken home 8 times more money than Nalbandian has.  (73M Vs. 11 M).  Both are top-notch tennis players and yet, the difference is so stark.

And this is just one part of the story.  The other part (and the bigger part) is the sponsorships/endorsements that these players win.  Let us look at that picture.  Andy Murray recently lost in the finals at Wimbledon.  The value of annual contracts that Murray had before the match was around £24 Mil Euros.  If he had won, it was estimated that the annual value of endorsements for Murray would have exceeded  £100 Mil.  And since he lost, it is expected that he will earn closer to £50 Mil Euros.  So the cost of losing that single match was around £50 Mil. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/wimbledon/9385189/Wimbledon-2012-Andy-Murray-could-earn-100m-if-he-wins-in-final.html

So the next time you talk to your kids, what is your advice going to be?   Knowing the facts – can you truthfully say that winning is not that important??

Comments

  1. I am the other extreme. For me winning is mostly what matters.

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  2. I guess you teach them that losing battles is OK but winning the war is important and some battles are key to winning the war :)

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  3. For every sportsperson, every loss presents a learning opportunity... Each loss hurts them a lot, they take a day or two (often weeks) to come to terms with it and move on... Most people learn about their limitations and about strengths of their opponents and do a better job next time around - at least they try to... Andy Murray also would have learnt quite a few lessons, the biggest of them would probably be the 50 million euros that he lost in endorsements!! He will move on and be back only to win next year... Such is sport :)

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