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Minimum Salary for a MLS Player? $33,750.
May 26, 2012 6:31 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday, the Major League Soccer Players Union released salary information for the 2012 season. The statistics may surprise you.
posted by lobbyist (59 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
When the Major League Soccer Players Union releases salary information, as it did on Friday, it’s a dose of reality for all parties. It’s perhaps even a little depressing.
Is it? Why is that?
posted by grouse at 6:40 AM on May 26, 2012


Why don't places release stuff like this in CSV format as well?
posted by demiurge at 6:42 AM on May 26, 2012


The article mentions that MLS surpassed NBA and NHL in average attendance, but that's somewhat misleading since they play less than half as many games. Still, it's impressive that the league is now even in the conversation. Most of that attendance growth has been in the Pacific Northwest-the difference in atmosphere between games in Seattle (where I live) and Columbus (where I'm from) is staggering. The league has done an excellent job identifying markets where the product can be successful in recent years.

As far as player salaries, I think that it's more likely that NBA and NHL TV deals deflate and the leagues meet in the middle than that MLS signs deals that match NBA/NHL in 2012 dollars.
posted by Kwine at 6:44 AM on May 26, 2012


Wow, Toronto FC. All that money with dick all to show for it? You really are part of the Leafs family, aren't you?
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:54 AM on May 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


lobbyist: "The statistics may surprise you."


The fact is, there is simply far less revenue to go around in M.L.S. because the TV contracts lag so far behind those in other sports.


uh... no, not surprising at all.
posted by 2manyusernames at 6:58 AM on May 26, 2012


Just think how much better it would be if they could sort out what to actually call the sport.
posted by srboisvert at 7:16 AM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a really good chunk of The Beckham Experiment devoted to discussion of MLS player salaries. I was surprised to learn that many MLS players have to work other part time jobs to support themselves.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:22 AM on May 26, 2012


This is really interesting to me, at least. One, I didn't know that the NHL had the highest minimum salary of the five major US leagues. Two, the minimum salary for a MLS player is surprisingly small. Playing the game of "Hey, guess..." with my wife, she wagered that the NFL would have had the highest minimum salary, and that the MLS minimum was in the high 100s.

I love going to FC Dallas games, especially because they're so much more convenient to where I live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area than the other four. The atmosphere of the games is getting better and better, rivalries are more bitter, and they still have free parking.

What more could you want? Dallas till I die!
posted by SNWidget at 7:23 AM on May 26, 2012


I know my perceptions are probably skewed (the arenas where basketball and hockey are played are much smaller than the stadia where soccer is played) but the DC United games I've been to were super-sparsely-attended. And those were this season.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:34 AM on May 26, 2012


One, I didn't know that the NHL had the highest minimum salary of the five major US leagues.

I don't think it has anything to do with hockey popularity or revenues, though; the NHLPA is working under the oldest collective bargaining agreement across the major sports. I'd expect that number to go down when the new CBA is negotiated this summer (please, God, let there be a resolution this summer)

Another thing is that marginal NHL players - the kind of guys making that $500k - have a credible threat of exit to Europe, whereas overseas leagues for the other four major sports are, for various reasons, unattractive to American pros.
posted by downing street memo at 7:50 AM on May 26, 2012


credible threat of exit to Europe

I'd wager that most MLS players could do the same as well, playing for a Championship League team, or 2. Bundesliga, and still make more money.

My guess is that growing up as a soccer player in the US one tends to not be in the limelight like a high profile player from any of the other sports (regionally dependent of course). The capable athletes that wanted that sort of attention/reward typically left for other sports at an early age, thus predetermining that an MLS player is less likely to seek out profits in favor of playing a sport one enjoys.
posted by Blue_Villain at 8:09 AM on May 26, 2012


Hockey is a niche sport in and of itself in the United States, and its TV ratings are underwhelming much of the time, but hockey's ratings make MLS's ratings look like the 5 AM Farm Report.

Some of this is chicken-egg, of course. Soccer will not get decent TV coverage unless it draws the ratings that require decent TV coverage to obtain. But it doesn't shock me that MLS players and AHL (first-level minor league hockey) players have pretty similar minimum salaries, because they're about even in the eyes of most American sports fans -- professional enough to represent a city and have a stadium and whatnot, but strictly minor league in terms of significance.
posted by delfin at 8:20 AM on May 26, 2012


The NFL, NHL, MLB, and NHL are the top leagues in world in their respective sports. MLS is way down that list in soccer. It looks like the total payroll for the league is in the $100 million range. Meanwhile, there are 5 teams in the premier league with a higher payroll.
posted by mach at 8:27 AM on May 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


$33,750 does seem a little small, $50,000 would be more in line with a fair, livable wage. However both are more then I will make as a grad student, so they can all piss off. Doubly so for those athletes that get six figures a year; don't see why damn jocks each get more then every scientist in my department combined.
posted by Canageek at 8:27 AM on May 26, 2012


the DC United games I've been to were super-sparsely-attended. And those were this season.

Averaging 13,751, it looks like. Not great, but it also looks even worse in the giant (piece of crap) RFK Stadium.
posted by inigo2 at 8:36 AM on May 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Doubly so for those athletes that get six figures a year; don't see why damn jocks each get more then every scientist in my department combined.

Because the scientists in your department can't get thousands of people to come out on a regular and spend money on tickets and parking and hot dogs and mediocre beer and souvenirs and jerseys and T-shirts and such and tune into the National Chemistry League on TV.

I was surprised to learn that many MLS players have to work other part time jobs to support themselves.
...
$33,750 does seem a little small, $50,000 would be more in line with a fair, livable wage.


Hah. I mentioned the AHL above, which is one level down from the NHL and about 1/12 of its minimum salary. What's the minimum for the ECHL, the next level down? $380 to $425 per WEEK. The salary cap for an entire ECHL TEAM is $12,400 a week.

This is one of many things that make professional sports such a crapshoot. Tens of thousands of qualified athletes get funneled down to the few who crack the pro rosters each year, and even then you're one unpredictable major injury away from it all going away.
posted by delfin at 8:40 AM on May 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


delfin: "Because the scientists in your department can't get thousands of people to come out on a regular and spend money on tickets and parking and hot dogs and mediocre beer and souvenirs and jerseys and T-shirts and such and tune into the National Chemistry League on TV."

Thank you for your response. I will never understand why so many highly intelligent people can't grasp this basic idea. Another factor in wages is basic supply and demand. Top level professional athletes are far fewer in number than those with a teaching degree. How "important" a career is to society (however that is defined) is not a major factor in determining wages.
posted by 2manyusernames at 8:49 AM on May 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


arguably professional athletes are underpaid relative to the profits they generate for their clubs. If they were treated like other "stars" they'd make more. Especially NFL and NBA players.
posted by JPD at 9:09 AM on May 26, 2012


I knew an MLS player during school, and he hung out around the periphery of my group after college. He lived exactly like the rest of us, with roommates and buying cheap beer.

I can assure you, however, that what he lacked in monetary wealth, he more than made up in his romantic life.

Because the scientists in your department can't get thousands of people to come out on a regular and spend money on tickets and parking and hot dogs and mediocre beer and souvenirs and jerseys and T-shirts and such and tune into the National Chemistry League on TV.

This is crazy, there's maybe under 20,000 professional athletes in the above mentioned sports? The highest is earning, what, $50mm/yr (Lebron)?

That's Mark Zuckerberg's beer budget. Seriously, your earning potential is astronomically higher in being a nerd than it is being an athlete, and you don't need to retire by your mid 30s.
posted by geoff. at 9:16 AM on May 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


While the actual numbers are maybe a little lower than I would have guessed, I can't say that I find it all that surprising that the salaries for players in a sport that is barely on the radar for even the most passionate sports fans in the US are significantly lower than athletes who play sports that are far more mainstream.
posted by The Gooch at 9:19 AM on May 26, 2012


Plus their job is to play soccer. I will trade them my 6 days a week 9-5 and vacation payout to get my wife's car fixed. Is there at least a charity out there that will help these poor, young, and fit men?
posted by Brocktoon at 9:21 AM on May 26, 2012


". . . and tune into the National Chemistry League on TV"

I would so pay money to watch that. Could we call it the NaCL?
posted by KingEdRa at 9:30 AM on May 26, 2012 [24 favorites]


Let's not forget the history of pro soccer in the U.S., which was littered with failure prior to MLS. To get any kind of corporate ownership backing at launch for MLS (the only way it would be launched), they had to provide assurances that player salaries could not outpace revenue performance in the short term. So, they baked that right into the contract structure.

Where it gets interesting for the players is when the league breaks out, TV-wise, and this notion of possible imminent failure falls off the bargaining table. Then the players can (rightly) put their hands out.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:36 AM on May 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd wager that most MLS players could do the same as well, playing for a Championship League team, or 2. Bundesliga, and still make more money.

Oh, it's worse than that:
In the bottom division, League Two, their weekly pay of £747 is not much more than the national average.

That works out to £38,844 a year, which would mean over $60K/year. So the average fourth division player in England makes almost twice as much as the average MLS player -- and this without the fourth division having any TV contract.

Accrington Stanley this year drew 41,045. The Sounders drew 38,311... two days ago. And yet, Accrington players are paid better than Sounders players, and one could assume that the Sounders are of better quality. (The general agreement is MLS teams right now are roughly between mid-table Championship and playoff-level League One in overall quality.)

So, this says three things:
1. The sports monoculture of England means football has a iron fist around every pound spent on sport
2. The MLS may well be undervalued, even in a far, far more competitive US sports environment
3. The Sounders ownership (and Montreal and Vancouver and Portland) are making a KILLING.
posted by dw at 9:38 AM on May 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


the National Chemistry League on TV

Over a decade ago, a man's fantasy became reality in a form never seen before: Laboratory Stadium, a giant chemistry arena. The motivation behind spending his fortune to create Laboratory Stadium was to encounter new original research which could be called true artistic creations.

Allez chimie!

To realize his dream, he secretly started choosing the top scientists of various branches of chemistry and he named these people the Noble Chemists, the unreacting paragons of chemical skill.

...

We unveil the reagent! Francium!
posted by frimble at 9:53 AM on May 26, 2012 [24 favorites]


The most surprising thing to me about the stats was that they didn't bother to specify the units. Mostly when we talk about soccer earnings (e.g. for the English Premier League), the numbers mentioned are weekly. Quite often what's mentioned is the weekly-after-tax earnings. It wasn't until I saw a comparison with the salary of a bartender that I was finally sure the numbers here are per annum.

Still I guess this explains why a lot of ex-megastars moving out of the big leagues like to go to Shanghai and Qatar these days rather than the MLS.
posted by philipy at 10:29 AM on May 26, 2012


Frimble, that was almost too funny.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:38 AM on May 26, 2012


What mach said. People judge the sport based on the idea that the USA is the top of the heap, but we aren’t even to soccer what Japan is to baseball, we are pretty far down the chain.

This is not surprising to me, but I’ve read up on this. I think the MLS people have done a great job of building the sport and the league, and not overpaying the players before the earnings are there. It’s a balancing act though. I wish there were an Atlanta team, but I just stick with the Galaxy.
posted by bongo_x at 10:42 AM on May 26, 2012


One thing to understand about the MLS is that the first modern pro soccer league, the NASL, has long cast a shadow over American soccer. The MLS from the get-go was all about not repeating the mistakes of the NASL, to the point that they eschewed everything about the NASL. The old NASL names were avoided for years, and places where the NASL had thrived -- the Pacific Northwest and Toronto -- were ignored for places with suburban soccer moms and large Hispanic populations.

Now, there were good reasons to be Not-NASL, namely that the financial structure of the league was unsustainable. They were paying top-league salaries to players like Pele and Beckanbauer even as attendance waned and the TV contracts never rose above cable. The NASL teams were always second or third tenants in baseball and football stadia. And overall, there was a feeling that the NASL was a failure, and thus soccer in America was a failure, and the MLS was not going to be a failure.

For the most part, the MLS-as-Primera-substitute has been a failure -- why go watch Chivas America when "real" Chivas is on Univision? -- and the soccer-as-suburban meme fell apart as Toronto/Seattle/Portland/Vancouver/Montreal each started drawing huge crowds to sold-out stadia within the urban center. (Meanwhile, New England can barely get anyone to drive out to Foxboro to play in cavernous Gilette Stadium.) The desire to avoid the NASL names fell apart when the San Jose and Seattle fanbases rebelled against not being the Earthquakes and Sounders. But what has held is two other principles: Teams owning their stadia, and being as penny-pinching as possible.

Signing Beckham for $4M/year was a huge financial risk for MLS, to the point that it's been difficult to get anyone else to make these sorts of moves. And the MLS was never about selling soccer to America as much as giving the US soccer youth movement a place to play besides and beyond college. By the time the MLS came along, there was a niche market for soccer. Now that niche is up to 17K people a game, and if you scan the crowd you'd see a lot of sub-40 faces. It's only a matter of time, really, before soccer starts pushing in on basketball and hockey. The question is, can the MLS hold its own in the US against the insurgent marketing of the Premier League and Primera Division?

ESPN and Fox are now filling their programming gaps with European football. You're more likely to find Arsenal or Man U on US TV than the Galaxy or the Sounders. The Europeans want their share of American sports money, and they'll crush the MLS if that what it'll take to keep paying those ludicrous salaries. For the MLS to compete, they'll need to raise the quality of play. In order to raise the quality of play, they'll need better players. To get better players, they'll have to drastically raise salaries. But to do that means TV money. So how do you get TV money if the EPL is sucking it all up?

Maybe the MLS is doing the right thing by staying out of the money game. Eventually, the EPL is going to collapse into something like Man U/Arsenal/Chelsea/Liverpool/16 teams of bricklayers and postmen making 50 bob a game. And when that happens, the MLS will be sitting pretty as a financially sustainable league with a young, solid fanbase. Until then, though, so long as there's an unlimited supply of Russian oligarchs willing to waste their fortunes on turning Chipping Toast FC into a Premier League team, the MLS will always be nothing more than an interesting throwback in a world of super-teams and $20M/year backup midfielders.
posted by dw at 11:13 AM on May 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


Eventually, the EPL is going to collapse into something like Man U/Arsenal/Chelsea/Liverpool/16 teams of bricklayers and postmen making 50 bob a game.

So you don't think that the new fair play rules (or whatever they're calling them) will help?
posted by inigo2 at 11:24 AM on May 26, 2012


Thanks, dw. That gave a nice starting point to understanding the history and larger market from which I can get around to, at some point, learning more.
posted by frimble at 11:32 AM on May 26, 2012


That'll happen is FSG (Liverpool) and other owners get out of the equity sharing TV deals and get their own international TV deals, something akin to what the Red Sox and Yankees have here.

Though really, if you want the old school (faux-noble) competition in England, you need the Championship though I bet it will be League 1 soon.

dw gives the whole history of the NASL's collapse. I think it's good that the MLS is growing sustainably. I wish I cared more though, but San Jose is too far and out of the way from where I live.

I wish I could find the link, but I remember last year something (maybe on du nord?) about the MLS basically pumping money into New York and LA to set up a rivalry that would attract more casual fans. The Exempt players are good marketing, but they don't always produce. Grant Wahl asked on Twitter yesterday if players were unhappy about their salaries being release. I didn't see any responses, but I'd be interested in seeing what they say.
posted by kendrak at 11:37 AM on May 26, 2012


Grant Wahl asked on Twitter yesterday if players were unhappy about their salaries being release. I didn't see any responses, but I'd be interested in seeing what they say.

I saw one response, trying to find it again; it was along the lines of "don't care, but it's gonna hurt my dating life".
posted by inigo2 at 11:45 AM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bobby Warshaw (FC Dallas player): I'm cool with it.. except when potential dates look at it. Really hurts my pro athlete vibe.
posted by inigo2 at 11:50 AM on May 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Where can I get a Chipping Toast FC T-shirt?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:15 PM on May 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's a really good chunk of The Beckham Experiment devoted to discussion of MLS player salaries. I was surprised to learn that many MLS players have to work other part time jobs to support themselves.

Most WNBA players, too, although more and more of them are playing overseas in the winter (which is still a job). Once you factor in minor-league baseball and hockey players, some D-League hoops guys and pro lacrosse, I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of professional athletes in the US do some kind of other paid work outside of their primary team.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:21 PM on May 26, 2012


Living in Edmonton many years ago, I remember many stories of what jobs the Edmonton Eskimos had in the off season. They still only make $42,000 a year.
posted by hydrobatidae at 1:45 PM on May 26, 2012


Yeah, this was an exciting report. My team (Rapids) just brought on a new Columbian coach, and he's been buying up a lot of South American talent, and we were all amazed to see how cheap it came. Makes us feel better about our notoriously stingy ownership: Kroenke has also owns the Nuggets (NBA), Avalanche (NHL), and Mammoth (NNL). Curiously, the Mammoth beat attendance af all the other three. He also owns 12% of Arsenal. I've never seen him at a Rapids game.

Not really going anywhere with this, too busy getting ready to go tailgate for four hours.

But, thanks for this, lobbyist and dw. Metafilter does soccer threads really well.
posted by 7segment at 1:49 PM on May 26, 2012


Um, what the hell is the "NNL?" I'm drawing a blank on sports that begin with "N."
posted by KingEdRa at 2:45 PM on May 26, 2012


Um, what the hell is the "NNL?"

Typo. Stan Kroenke owns the Colorado Mammoth of the NLL, the National Lacrosse League.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:16 PM on May 26, 2012


Kroenke owns over 60% of Arsenal. (Some background.)

The only reason he doesn't own it all is that Usmanov and variious small shareholders like the Arsenal Supporters Trust don't want to sell, even though Kroenke has a controlling stake.

He's rarely seen there either, and has picked up the nickname 'Silent Stan'.
posted by philipy at 7:24 PM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


That'll happen is FSG (Liverpool) and other owners get out of the equity sharing TV deals and get their own international TV deals, something akin to what the Red Sox and Yankees have here.
This will happen the day after MLB and the NFL institutes promotion and relegation.
posted by fullerine at 2:32 AM on May 27, 2012


European football already has less revenue sharing than US sports do. The Yankees revenue is closer to the league median than Man U or Chelsea are to theirs (Premier League median ~70 mil, top clubs are 200+ MLB median ~200 mil, richest 4 clubs ~300 mil.0

Put another way - the difference between the richest teams in MLB and the poorest was 70% of revenues (After the revenue sharing "luxury tax") while in the Premier league the difference is almost 4x
posted by JPD at 6:39 AM on May 27, 2012


Kroenke also owns the Rams (NFL).
posted by inigo2 at 7:20 AM on May 27, 2012


Promotion/relegation in the MLB would kick 1000 pounds of ass, but it would never happen. Sigh.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:41 AM on May 27, 2012


How "important" a career is to society (however that is defined) is not a major factor in determining wages.

And people wonder why I'm not a capitalist. Spend 6 years chasing a cure for cancer; 20-30k/year as a grad student, then twice that as a post doc, eventually by the time you are 60+ you MIGHT hit 150k/year as a tenured prof.

Learn how to hit a ball, umpteen million a year.

I'm thinking this who 'invisible hand' thing is vastly overrated, and pushing out society to chase really dumb things.
posted by Canageek at 10:37 AM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]



Learn how to hit a ball, umpteen million a year.


A lot fewer people can hit a ball than can be STEM PhD's. Simple fact. If people want to enjoy sport wouldn't you rather see the money go to innate talent rather than the capitalists? Because calling for lower salaries for players is doing the opposite of that.
posted by JPD at 11:18 AM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


So you don't think that the new fair play rules (or whatever they're calling them) will help?

Not really. For one, it only affects the teams that get promoted into the Premiership -- the teams already there are subject to their own free spending. So Reading and Southampton will be under these tight financial controls while Man City can freely write huge checks without any fear. All you're doing is shifting the gulf between Premiership and Championship from the line between the 20th and 21st best team in the UK to the line between, oh, the 5th and 6th best. And given there's already a hell of a chasm between the top 5 and mid-table, it's going to look awfully Grand Canyon.

I really do think there will be a European Super League before this decade ends, one without relegation and consisting of the 16 key big money teams. A league like that would probably be able to get a $10B/year TV deal. (Keep in mind the NFL's 2014-2022 deal is for $39.6B -- just short of $5B/year. $10B /year, I think, may be conservative.)

I mean, think about that -- $10B split between 16 teams would be $625 million a team per year. The debts of Man U and Liverpool could be wiped out within 2 years, without any fear of relegation ruining their income stream.

It seems inevitable that this will happen. There's just too much money being left on the table, and the economics of European football are not all that efficient (mainly because of the antiquated financial structure of the Euro leagues, but also because UEFA and FIFA are so corrupt Sepp Blatter makes Mobutu and Mugabe look like choir boys). Everyone in Europe is looking to the US longingly, not just as a $1B TV market, but also because of how well the sports leagues are run here -- the NFL's well-managed central control organization and MLB's multimedia machine (did you know they're the largest tech employer in NYC?) The NBA and NHL, while having huge debt issues from poorly structured salaries and high ticket prices in small markets, are still in better shape than most Euro leagues.

I think the end is nigh. One day we'll wake up to a super league, and then all hell will break loose. And the money that will flow will be on levels we've never seen before anywhere in the world.

And yet, it still won't be enough money.
posted by dw at 12:48 PM on May 27, 2012


I think 33,000 should be the *maximum* allowable salary for any sports figure.

Being able to kick a ball? Not a skill deserving of a great deal of money.

As to the dedication and such required to be a professional athlete - maybe they should spend their lives dedicated to something more meaningful then kicking a ball.
posted by dethb0y at 3:40 PM on May 27, 2012


dethb0y:

I'm curious how you would like to see that enforced.

Professional sports bring in a ton of revenue via ticket sales, stadium concessions and parking, merchandise, TV contracts, etc. That money is going to go somewhere (it's not like money that had been previously earmarked for scientific research is being diverted to professional atheltes). Are you arguing that the owners should reap pretty much all of the benefits while the players should starve?
posted by The Gooch at 4:27 PM on May 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Agreeing with The Gooch here.

When people go on about athletes not deserving the money they get paid, I’m never sure what they want to happen. The only solutions I can think of would be to somehow stop people from paying money for sporting events, merchandise, etc. or to heavily tax sports teams and let the government use the money. I’m all for the latter, but otherwise, why shouldn’t the athletes have a big share of the money? They’re doing the work, it’s their talent. What about painters, writers, actors, etc? What should their maximum salary be?

I’d love to see the breakdown of how much every profession and hobby should pay, and how that would be enforced. I’m pretty freakin far left, but not quite there. Sometimes I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t seem to understand markets.
posted by bongo_x at 7:36 PM on May 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you want to see how a hard limit on player salaries would work, look at college sports for a start. Does that look good? (I dont know that much about it, but i dont like any of what i do know).
posted by jacalata at 8:57 PM on May 27, 2012


I think 33,000 should be the *maximum* allowable salary for any sports figure.

So what you're saying is that the sports ownership should be made to keep the billions in TV, radio, merchandise, and gate revenues for themselves and not be made to share it with the players because, well, kicking a ball isn't meaningful?

Read up about Curt Flood already.
posted by dw at 9:24 PM on May 27, 2012


If teams (in any sport) could find people capable of playing at the level required who would be willing to work for less money, then they'd pay sign them and pay them less, but these skills are rare, so they can't. It is simple supply and demand.

Sport is actually very very good at finding out someone's skill level and paying them what they're worth. You're always going to get the odd silly deal where a player is massively underpaid, but on average, it's about right. Sport teams put a lot more money into finding and hiring playing staff than most businesses.

People moan about F1 drivers salaries, but at any given time there are probably only 10 people capable of getting more than a handful of points in a season, and there are around 20 cars, so those guys can command a premium price.
posted by chrispy108 at 2:49 AM on May 28, 2012


Oh, and man I wish this data was available in English football, would make my job so much easier!

The other argument dw just raised is also valid, if Wayne Rooney can help Man United get 70,000 bums on a seat at £80 a ticket a game, and sell £50 shirts around the world, and help bring in £10s of millions in TV money, shouldn't he get a share of that?
posted by chrispy108 at 2:51 AM on May 28, 2012


@JPD: Of course not. I think entertainment profits should be taxed down to a reasonable level and distributed to health care, research and cultural events. Look at our recent Doctorate to Welfare thread; There is a great desire for a funding source for such things, this seems a very easy solution. You could very easily set the cap on profits high enough to still attract investment, but low enough to fund a dozen scientists a year. Heck, you could pay for every grad student in Canada with half the combined salaries of the NHL players, and they'd each still make more a year then I'll see in my life.
posted by Canageek at 8:25 AM on May 28, 2012


I don't know whether sports enterprises should be taxed more, but I do believe that taxpayers should stop spending billions of dollars to subsidize stadiums that will be used by this highly profitable industry.
posted by grouse at 8:46 AM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think entertainment profits should be taxed down to a reasonable level

Would you include movies? Would you include concerts? They're also entertainment and multi-billion dollar industries. What about TV? What about video games?

Hell, the video game industry is now up near $16B in revenue a year and still growing. The total revenue for the five main US sports leagues is a little over $25B. But, you see, video games are cultural. Or something. But sports, you see, those are just people hitting balls with sticks! Tom Cruise, he has to WORK for that $20M a movie.

I don't know whether sports enterprises should be taxed more, but I do believe that taxpayers should stop spending billions of dollars to subsidize stadiums that will be used by this highly profitable industry.

This I 100% agree with. It's time to end the subsidies for sports stadiums and make the teams build them themselves. It'd certainly make the sports leagues far more sustainable to make them ask banks for cash rather than the taxpayers.
posted by dw at 11:21 AM on May 28, 2012


dw: From what I understand while most developers may take huge tons of cash in, they also live pretty hand to mouth, so in that case probably not. Also, with a few exceptions, it is quite rare for the actual developers to see much of that money; heck, the developers don't even get royalties.

There was a proposal in the 1930s to cap the total wealth at 300x the average wealth of the population, with any surplus taxed off. I think that needs to be reexamined.

Also: Sure, he has to work for $20M a movie. So do grad students wanting to finish their thesis, and they only get $20-30k/year, so yeah, not buying it. I fail to see why actors shouldn't pay far, far more tax then they do as well.
posted by Canageek at 2:48 PM on May 29, 2012


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