Sports Salaries Essay

Most people in America feel that pro athlete’s salaries are too high. Current
sports salaries are reaching astronomical figures. Players are signing 50
million-dollar contracts and up just because they happen to be pretty good at
hitting a baseball. Just the other day Kevin Brown signed a contract worth over
100 million! Now pro sports are fun to watch and follow, but college games
entertain just as well and they aren’t receiving a legal penny. Down south,
people like college sports more than professional sports. Player’s don’t Ned to
be paid exorbitant amounts of money. The economics involved in sports today
hurts the fans, some teams, and the leagues themselves. The sports leagues can
actually be hurt by there own actions. The current NBA lockout is a prime
example of money ruining what looked to be a fine year. The owners are locking
out the players until they can settle on a bunch of points. The baseball strike
a few years back obviously hurt baseball, and this lockout might hurt basketball
also. John Donovan from CNN/SI summed it up perfectly, “You have greedy
owners and you have greedy players, all of them fighting over absurd amounts of
money. And, in the end, it’s the fans who get screwed” (Donovan 1). One
dispute between the two sides is the “Larry Bird Exception”. This rule
basically allows teams to ignore the salary cap and re sign a veteran at any
price. Michael Jordan alone makes 6 million more than the team salary cap. The
owners want this modified because some teams are just too good. The players
don’t want to budge on this issue. Their side on this is that there is no middle
class because of the salary cap. This is a very good point. Salary caps are
important to keep teams close, but that leaves great players making millions
while the good players make too little. The owners are trying to get the most
money out of their team but in the mean time nobody is watching their team play
and the profit is zero. Money problems have and will continue to scar sports and
more importantly the fans. What should you tell a little kid who loves
basketball, when his favorite player is playing golf somewhere instead. High
price players effect fans more than you might think. According to Richard
Amrhine, “The Los Angeles Lakers offered Shaquille O’Neal $123 million over
seven years. The deal will help push tickets for the so-called cheap seats at
the LA Forum from $9 to $20.” That is ridiculous, now the average family
has to spend a fortune just to go see a game. Relocation seems to be the new
thing for teams to do. In order for a team to be good they must buy good
players. If they don’t make a profit they must move. The best example of this
would be the Cleveland Browns. Despite having some of the most loyal fans in the
world, the owner decided to move to Baltimore, where they could hopefully make a
profit. Once again money problems stemming from high salaries comes between fans
and their beloved game. If the trend in sports doesn’t change, I would have to
think that attendance is going to drop. Sports popularity is soaring but more
and more people are going to have to watch the games on the TV. Prices for
tickets are rising pretty steadily and there are more and more premium seats
being placed around the arenas. How can the average family afford to go to a
game when for 4 people it will cost well over $100. And then you can factor in
the absurd prices for food and drinks. Pro sports may soon become entertainment
for the rich. The way sports are set up today money is a huge part of how
successful the team is. It has often been said that you can buy yourself a World
Series Championship and to a certain extent it is true. A couple years ago the
Florida Marlins bought many high priced players, putting them at the top of the
salary list. They won the World Series that year and then totally dismantled the
team. The next year the Marlins were one of the worst teams in the league. Even
though Florida did win with money it doesn’t always work out. Last year the
Baltimore Orioles had the highest payroll, but they didn’t even make the
playoffs. High priced players don’t always equal high talent. In spite of the
fact that teams with high salaries don’t always win, it has been calculated that
unless your payroll is at a certain level you are out of the race before it even
starts. Baseball has the highest salaries out of all the sports. With the
average salary at about 1,000,000 it’s hard to think of any player as poor. And
the salaries are growing very rapidly. In 1981 the average income was $185,000.

Compared to the “real world” baseball players are totally in a league
of their own. “In 1976 the average ball player earned eight times the US
average income. In 1991 the average ballplayer earned forty-seven times the
average US income” (Zimbalist ?). Salaries really have lost every sense of
reason. If you wanted to look at the other side of the coin, baseball players do
make considerably less than their entertainment counterparts. On the field money
is just a fraction of what some players get. In 1996 Michael Jordan made 12.6
million dollars. But since image is everything he made $40 million just in
endorsements in one year! All because some companies believe his face will help
them sell their product. Sports athletes are hot commodities. Everywhere you
look there is a sports related endorsement. Some companies rely solely on sports
figures to advertise even if their product has nothing to do with sports (Wheatees,
Campbell Soup).

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