For decades, a controversial topic for debate in the sports world has been whether or not athletes truly deserve a seven-figure salary per season. Many wonder if an athlete’s work and dedication to his or her sport really is worth millions of dollars per year.
According to Forbes magazine, boxer Floyd Mayweather is the highest paid athlete in the world making approximately $300 million per year. Over this past year, Mayweather has been in the ring only TWO times, which means this boxer made around $150 million per fight.
One of those fights was against Manny Pacquiao, and was one of the most highly anticipated sporting events this year. It was also one of the most disappointing, with Mayweather’s performance being called “underwhelming.” Despite this, he made more than nine times the salary of a professional physician.
The average doctor makes $164,000 per year, while the average high school teacher nets $46,000 per year.
This leads us to ask, what is of value? Is the sport itself worth the payout? Is the athlete? Or the entertainment factor? Athletes are dedicated, no doubt, but how much leverage does an athlete have, and how much are organizations willing to pay for a person deemed “invaluable?”
Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is offered to be traded for no less than $1 billion. Ronaldo is arguably the face of European soccer and one of the most marketable athletes, but despite his achievements, $1 billion should not be handed out to someone who only plays professionally for four months out of an entire year.
MLB players are some of the highest paid players in the industry, having the longest continuous regular season and are guaranteed a set pay with no salary cap. This gives franchises more room to commit to a player long term, even if that player is eventually bought out. Los Angeles Dodgers Pitcher Clayton Kershaw earns $32 million per year and pitches fewer than 20 percent of the regular season’s games.
It is safe to say that an athlete’s worth is irrelevant as long as the industry they work for has money to throw their way. It is evident that the worth tacked onto an athlete far outweighs the length of the season. As long as people will pay to watch him or her play, the price tag will only go up, even if there are only a handful of games to watch.