The Lion's is a money maker, it used to play a purpose when touring wasn't all that feasible and used to end in complete failure for the four nations but we don't need that now. It's a pretty empty honour especially when you play a team that three of the four countries would have underachieved had they not won the series like last time.
In a time where most the NH discussion on this forum is how to get ourselves to the level of the NH, I really think we should be looking at this regarding it's purpose or lack thereof. The Lions is simply a hindrance to the development of a team in a vital stage of the four year World Cup cycle where teams should be expanding on the foundations they have built in the previous 18 months, instead they go on a worthless and amateurish tour which lacks identity other than videos of Martin Johnson, Willie John MacBride etc... It's a good idea but bad for rugby in the four nations involved.
Without anything to base it on, I'd warrant that those involved in 2013 would rather have won that test series wearing white, green, blue or with a leek on their chest. At the very least I'd want the tour to be moved to the year after the RWC.
The modern Lions, like every professional sport, are indeed a money maker. We've the success of the '97 tour to thank for that. To call it an empty honour is nothing but your opinion. Take a look at the team announcement events in recent years; looks far from an empty when you see the eyes, smiles and puffed out chests of those picked, of those handed their jersey by the amateurs of old.
And thats an unbelievably selfish take; each for their own. No thanks, I don't want a part of that. There remains an incredibly powerful history of unity that comes with the Lions. The hosts relish the opportunity to be part of something more than just another touring nation, and thats clear when you read the reverence with which they are spoken of.
"Worthless and amateurish"? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Why should players be treated merely as commodities to serve the purpose of their clubs and country? There has never been so much as a whisper from the players that the Lion's concept is redundant, as they clearly value the honour that comes with wearing the red jersey.
I'd beg to differ; a test series as a Lion strikes me as a more significant achievement. Always the underdog and but once every four years. The opportunity to actually represent the Lions is something that is bestowed on so few players.
Ultimately, you won't get what you want. The Lions is much more than you give it credit for.