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Large-format poster in downtown Munich

The term commercialization , also economization or marketization , describes the expansion of the market and an economic logic of action into other areas of society. Among other things, the question of the commercialization of intangible goods in civil law plays a role. In addition, the commercialization of the arts, sciences or sport is spoken of in culture-critical analyzes. In marketing , commercialization is a phase in the innovation process that stands at the beginning of the life cycle of a new marketable product and includes the development of production and the market launch, before the phase of product diffusion in the market.


civil right

In German jurisprudence , the term commercialization is used to discuss the extent to which monetary damages have to be paid for damages that were originally understood as non- financial damages . This is based on the idea that in today's economic society almost everything is available for money. This problem is discussed in connection with assessment contracts .

However, in Section 253 (1) of the German Civil Code ( BGB), the law expressly differentiates between financial loss and non-financial loss and only allows monetary compensation for the latter if the law expressly states it (e.g. compensation for pain and suffering ).

According to the case law on the protection of the general right of personality , it is about the extent to which parts of this right can have a financial character so that violations result in a claim for damages. The objection to commercialization is that this would make personal rights available to third parties. Proponents argue that the personality of celebrities is amenable to commercial exploitation anyway and that this should also benefit the bearers of personality rights - or their legal successors.

The commercialization was also discussed with regard to "lost vacation pleasure " (now § 651n Abs. 2 BGB: "If the trip is thwarted or significantly impaired, the traveler can also demand appropriate monetary compensation for useless vacation time."). Others also base the judicial legal training that has meanwhile been recognized under customary law on the idea of ​​commercialization, according to which the possibility of being able to use a motor vehicle already has monetary value (so-called compensation for loss of use ).

Public law


In order to avoid information monopolies in the area of freedom of broadcasting, the continuous commercialization of information of general importance to the exclusion of third parties is constitutionally inadmissible.

Human body

International and above all European public law largely excludes the commercialization of the human body, especially against the background of organ transplants . This results from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights , requirements of the World Health Organization and the Biomedical Convention of the Council of Europe. German constitutional law also results in a restriction of the right to physical self-harm, such as is associated with a living donation of important organs (such as the statutory seat belt requirement or the ban on the consumption of certain drugs).

Proponents of a regulated organ market are calling for this ban to be lifted and for the commercial organ trade to be established. This demand is usually based on a utilitarian reasoning that commercialization would result in greater availability of organs due to financial incentives . Both organ donors and recipients would benefit from voluntary deals in the market. Dialysis treatment is more costly for society than a kidney transplant . In addition, the commercialization of organ transplants corresponds to the autonomy of the “donor”. The possibility of selling one's organs, in practice mainly kidneys , is understood as the outflow of self-determination over one's own body, even if this involves self-harm. All body parts are to be understood as " property ".

However, proponents also usually demand a “regulated organ market” so that the organs should not be distributed on the basis of the price mechanism , but also on the basis of medical and ethical criteria (urgency or waiting time).

Opponents of commercialization claim that an organ market would lead to the displacement of post-mortem donation by living donation. In addition, the commercial donation, which would primarily be at the expense of the health and dignity of economically underprivileged sections of the population, would probably lead to the displacement of the donation in the social vicinity, which has so far been made in the form of a gift , in particular by family members . This would further reinforce social differences and extend them to the area of ​​the body. In addition, studies from countries such as India and Iran, where there are markets for organ transplants, show that selling a kidney does not generally improve the living situation of organ donors in the long term. Mostly the shop assistants, often women, are brought to the step by acute economic hardship and under pressure from relatives. However, the one-off payment usually does not change the economic situation. Most of the donors were over-indebted again after a few years . About four-fifths of the respondents in two studies in India and Iran would not sell their kidney again if they could decide again, or generally advise against selling their kidneys.

Cultural sphere

In the various branches of culture - e.g. B. Museums , theaters , music festivals - which are usually financed by the state, the responsible managers are looking for private sponsors who are supposed to compensate for the scarce public funds or to enable ambitious museum and festival projects. The sponsors use this to bring about an image transfer with a relatively small amount in relation to the basic financing , that is: The light that falls on the cultural event should also make their company appear in a better light in public.


There is also commercialization in sport, which manifests itself in a variety of ways and in a wide variety of sports and competitions. Commercialization in sport goes hand in hand with the practice of sport as a professional sport , i.e. H. with the practice of sport as a profession. In terms of sport history, the development of broad professional sport can be traced back to the early 20th century ; Professional football was introduced in Great Britain as early as 1885. The upswing of sport as a social and media event due to the advancing technical development (especially the development of television ) is closely linked to commercialization . The economic drivers of commercialization were in particular the areas of sponsoring (e.g. jersey advertising ) and the sale of broadcasting rights . A lot of money is generated through systematic marketing. Industries are also promoting commercialization through constant new brands of sporting goods. With these brands, the athletes become models and role models. In the meantime, however, names of stadiums and clubs are being sold, sponsors are being integrated into club logos and some clubs are already fully owned by profit-oriented companies. But the athletes also benefit from the commercialization through prize money.

At the Olympic Games , the beginning of commercialization can be set to 1972, when the then very principled IOC President Avery Brundage , who had resisted commercialization, resigned. After the resignation, the IOC began to sound out the potential of the medium of television and the lucrative advertising market associated with it. Under the presidency of Juan Antonio Samaranch , the IOC increasingly adapted to the needs of international sponsors who wanted to advertise their products with the Olympic names and trademarks. At the 1981 Olympic Congress in Baden-Baden, the amateur rules for the Olympic Games were largely abolished. The dominant role of commercialization in elite sport has also been associated with postmodernism , as the old meta-narrative structures were gradually ended.

In football the commercialization is also well advanced. Professional football is a billion dollar business in Germany; the 36 licensed teams in the Bundesliga and the 2nd Bundesliga achieved a record turnover of € 2.3 billion in 2011. To protect against progressive commercialization, the controversial 50 + 1 rule exists in German and Austrian football .

In the United States, professional sport is practically completely commercialized. Only franchises take part in the various professional leagues .

The commercialization of sport is also perceived at the interfaces between sport and politics . Politics reacts to commercialization through political design and means (e.g. sports promotion group of the Bundeswehr ). B. in the context of sport policy of the European Union .

Commercialization effect

The commercialization effect is the effect that the allocation of goods via market mechanisms has on the character of the goods themselves or on the behavior of market participants.

Most economic theories assume that the way in which a good is distributed among the members of a society does not affect the value of the good. The thesis of the commercialization effect, on the other hand, states that the external conditions and the attitude of those involved in the acquisition of goods or services via a market - which is usually associated with monetary valuation, striving for efficiency, competition and self-interest-led action - the satisfaction from the traded goods as well as the attitudes and social norms of those involved. So, according to the thesis, it plays a role whether something is sold and bought commercially or gets from one person to another in some other way, for example as a favor, a gift, on the basis of obligation or affection. Market trading can thus reduce welfare .

Fred Hirsch coined the term of the commercialization effect. He cites, among other things, medical treatment, the quality of which can suffer if the patient assumes that the doctor regards his service as a purely commercial, profit-maximizing activity, or prostitution as examples. Michael Sandel cites the corruption effect as one possible reason why trading via markets can change the quality of what is traded in the eyes of the participants , according to which extrinic motivation over monetary incentives and the pursuit of profit displaces intrinsic motivation. The British sociologist Richard Titmuss explained the poor availability of blood in the USA, where blood could be donated and given for payment, compared to that in Great Britain, where it could be donated alone, with the fact that the treatment of blood as a commercial product was a deterrent Had an effect on potential donors. For Germany there is evidence that the idea of organ trafficking negatively affects the willingness to donate organs .

See also


  • Jürgen Heinrich: Medienökonomie , Vol. 2: Radio and television , Westdeutscher Verlag 2002
  • Jochen Taupitz (ed.): Commercialization of the human body . Publications of the Institute for German, European and International Medical Law, Health Law and Bioethics of the Universities of Heidelberg and Mannheim, Vol. 28, 2007, X, ISBN 978-3-540-69894-4

Web links

Wiktionary: Commercialization  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Heribert Meffert : Marketing, basics of sales policy . 7th edition. Gabler, 1986, 3,343 Commercialization and Diffusion. Ansgar Spread: Product Innovation and Marketing . In: Economic contributions . tape 5 , 1988, pp. 130 .
  2. Reinhard Ellger: Enrichment through interference: the concept of the allocation content in the area of ​​tension between exclusive rights and freedom of competition. Mohr Siebeck, 2002, ISBN 3161475755 , p. 782.
  3. ^ Andreas Steinert: Media law, telecommunications law and antitrust law - keeping media regulations open , LIT Verlag Münster, 2003, ISBN 3825866254 , p. 57
  4. a b c d e Ingrid Schneider: Can a regulated organ market remedy the shortage of organs - and at what price? In: From Politics and Contemporary History , No. 20–21 / May 16, 2011 - Topic: Organ donation and self-determination ( online ( Memento from January 31, 2013 in the Internet Archive )).
  5. cf. Wipper, Herdin: Sports press under pressure. The development of football coverage in the German print media. A comparative study using the example of the soccer world championships in 1990 and 1998 . Dissertation, FU Berlin, 2003 ( online) , p. 73f. for the development in German football.
  6. Arnd Krüger : Sport, Commercialization and Postmodernism , in: H. Sarkowicz (Hrsg.): Schneller, Höher, Weiter. A history of sport. Frankfurt / M .: Insel 1996, 390–406. ISBN 3-458-16809-5
  7. cf. for Germany: Dieter Hintermeier: Commercialization: The Sponsors ' Games , in: The Parliament, No. 21/2008 ( online ), accessed on June 16, 2012.
  8. ^ German Football League : Bundesliga Report 2012. The economic situation in licensed football . Frankfurt, 2012 ( online as PDF ( memento of the original from June 12, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this note. ), P. 50. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  9. cf. z. B. Reinhard Backes: Sport and Politics: In the Sign of Power , in: The Parliament, No. 21/2008 ( online ), accessed on June 16, 2012.
  10. Werner Pommerehne and Bruno Frey : Endowment and commercialization effect on the art market . In: WiSt . tape 16 , 1987.
  11. Fred Hirsch: The social limits of growth . 1980, ISBN 978-3-498-02853-4 (English: Social limits to growth . Cambridge, MA 1976. Translated by Udo Rennert).
  12. Michael J. Sandel : Market Reasoning as Moral Reasoning: Why Economists Should Re-engage with Political Philosophy . In: Journal of Economic Perspectives . tape 27 , no. 4 , 2013, p. 134-135 ( online, PDF ).
  13. F. Weber: Possible effects of a commercialization of organ donation within the medical profession . In: Transplant Medicine . 2003.