A tale of (the wage bills of) three English sports
September 9, 2012 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Information on cricket salaries in England is difficult to find, though the amounts are acknowledged to be low; many cricketers take on a second job during the off-season. One of the top flight teams, Durham, is the first county fined for narrowly exceeding the total playing staff salary cap for the year. As a cross-sport comparison, the top flight football (soccer) team wage bills for 2010-11, and the team salary caps for rugby.
posted by Wordshore (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
That's wicketly unfair!.
posted by srboisvert at 1:25 PM on September 9, 2012

Still beats Gaelic Football (nothing, by rule.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:30 PM on September 9, 2012

The English Premier League is getting ridiculous now, with a 70% increase in next year's TV payments the sums are becoming so vast clubs are in danger of making a profit.
posted by fullerine at 1:33 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

The salary cap link for rugby is for union. I wonder what the pay is like in league? If it's higher (I'm guessing it will be), then that would be interesting.

Lower pay: county cricket, rugby union.
Higher pay: football, rugby league.

Guess the difference?
posted by Jehan at 1:49 PM on September 9, 2012

In the UK rugby league's salary cap is much, much lower: the combined earnings of the top 25 players must not exceed £1.65 million. Since rugby union's move to professionalism in the mid nineties league is very much the poor relation.

County cricket has dicked itself time and again but putting itself on pay channels and alienating old skool cricket fans who would dearly love to sit there and watch idle afternoons of cricket. Nobody watches it. Meanwhile the international test and one day series seem to go on for ever and take the best players permanently out of the count game. It's not a surprise country cricket is not the phenomenon it once was when you could pop down to a county match and see the West Indian and English stars doing their stuff.

Rugby union salary caps are low given the sheer number of players needed to get through a season and field compeitive 22 man squads in cup and league games. But despite leading teams pushing for a hike in the salary cap, it is not such a great idea. Club rugby still attracts average gates around the 10,000 mark - and many of the clubs are borderline profitable or unprofitable.

And don't get me started on football. Player salaries are ridiculous and unsustainable outside the top 5 or so teams. Arsenal's fallen off a cliff this season. So is Liverpool. Basically only Chelsea and Man Utd can sustain those levels of spend.

What French rugby and British and Italian football have in common is bankrolling by sugar daddies and that sustainable P&Ls are vulgar and besides the point.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:03 PM on September 9, 2012

Those union salary caps are for the English League only. Even the 9.5m Euro cap currently in place for French clubs is almost certainly a 'ow you zay, guideline' Reputed wage bills were more than double that for a few clubs a couple of seasons ago and Toulon probably pay more than 9.5 million to their pack alone. A Welsh international was rumoured to have been given a vineyard for signing with a mid-table French club.

League hasn't been able to match Union salaries since they tore the heart out the Welsh team during the 80s and 90s.

Yes I'm still bitter, what of it?
posted by fullerine at 2:05 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

In the UK rugby league's salary cap is much, much lower: the combined earnings of the top 25 players must not exceed £1.65 million. Since rugby union's move to professionalism in the mid nineties league is very much the poor relation.
Ah, I stand corrected then.
posted by Jehan at 2:31 PM on September 9, 2012

If you're interested in the financial health of top football clubs the blog The Swiss Ramble is worth reading. It goes into detail on the balance sheets of top European Clubs.
posted by sien at 2:46 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

The EPL is the highest paying soccer league in the world. The highest paying cricket league in the world is (sadly) the IPL in India where each team has a salary cap of $5 million/year.
posted by PenDevil at 3:02 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Muffinman, while I'm sure it was enjoyable to tootle off to a country oval to watch first class internationals playing for county, those of us elsewhere in the world don't necessarily view it so rosily. Counry was the empire version of the IPL.
posted by bystander at 4:39 PM on September 9, 2012

£1.8m for a county club's annual wage bill. I'd guess there would be 20 contracted players, so £90,000 average per player. Doesn't sound too bad. I don't think Australian domestic cricketers get paid any more than that - though they're all off making their money in the IPL.

As for rugby, the super rugby system has salary caps of about $4m (AUD) for a squad of 35.

Neither example is a path to riches if you're a journeyman player.

But if you're playing for your country and can pick up endorsements you're doing well. Michael Clarke's salary is $6M, his endorsements take that to over $10M a year.

James O'Connor earns about $2M a year.
posted by wilful at 8:06 PM on September 9, 2012

bystander - the issue with paying cricketers outside their home country a living wage so they can do what they love was, or is, exactly? Either sport is professional and players get to choose how to manage their careers or it isn't.

Rugby has dealt with just this issue - in this case France and Japan primarily paying the big bucks - by teams like Aus, NZ and now England making it clear players who don't play in their home country won't get selected internationally. I don't see the issue with this is, either.

Cricket is an old empire game. The commercial heart was England. It's now India. I can't see what the issue is either way. You can't just magic up a big commercial cricket league in somewhere like the West Indies if the money isn't there. Unless you're Alan Stanford.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:42 AM on September 10, 2012

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