FROM THE SPORTS DESK: how much is too much in sports

March 31, 2010

by Justin Phillips

Whenever someone mentions to a New York Yankees fan that the franchise buys its championships, an argument usually ensues.
And if you’re in New York when you hear the comment made, it’s more likely a bar-wide brawl will follow.

No true Yankees fan would want to believe the possibility that if they weren’t able to shell out boatloads upon boatloads of money to free agents and in trades, they would not be as competitive yearly as they are now.

Well I have some good news for you Yankee haters out there, and Dallas Maverick haters and New York Knick haters (and the list goes on). According to a recent article published out of London (Reuters), sportsintelligence.com has conducted a
survey to determine the best-paid teams in global sports.

By “best paid,” the report is referring to which teams have the highest average salaries per player without calculating possible endorsements. The list spans all sports from baseball to soccer.

Lo and behold, guess what American team with 27 championships, a plethora of future hall of famers and a uniform famous for its pinstripes found itself sitting atop the list as the richest of the rich? The New York Yankees at a whopping $6.99M average yearly salary per player.
Pause for dramatic effect.

I know it isn’t surprising, but it adds validity to the argument that maybe, just maybe, the money the Yanks throw around has a great deal to do with the results they get to see in their trophy case at the end of each season.

Rounding out the top ten in order were Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Dallas Mavericks, LA Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks.

This report brings to light a bigger discussion topic: are professional athletes overpaid? It’s an age-old debate, but no matter the time or place, it’s always a valid question.

Think about it; a baseball player on the Yankees team makes almost $7M per year, almost 18 times the salary of the president of the United States. Understandably, it is a form of entertainment.

Actors can cash in a similar amount for a blockbuster movie role and elite boxers can pull out the money rake depending on their pay-per-view ticket sales, but should a line be drawn somewhere?

During a time when the economy is attempting to climb out of a hole and jobs across the country are getting slashed, is it endearing to fans to see men who play children’s games cash Powerball winner-sized checks at the end of every season?

Or is the salary worth the physical sacrifice and public scrutiny some of the star players in the sporting leagues our country is familiar with have to endure?

Are the salaries a representation of the premium we place on athletes who can be good role models and represent our country in a positive light to the entire globe?

Either way, I really do not see the enormous salaries changing in the near future. The Yankees will still have the highest paid players and Real Madrid will still be able to afford the elite soccer players from around the world.

Like Adam Corrolla once said, “Sure there are tons of guys who go out and play basketball on a court everyday, but people pay thousands to watch Lebron James play because he can dunk on all of those guys.”