American Football Database

Professional sports, as opposed to amateur sports, are sports in which athletes receive payment for their performance. Professional athleticism has come to the fore through a combination of developments. Mass media and increased leisure have brought larger audiences, so that sports organizations or teams can command large incomes. As a result, more sportspeople can afford to make athleticism their primary career, devoting the training time necessary to increase skills, physical condition, and experience to modern levels of achievement. This proficiency has also helped boost the popularity of sports.[1]

Most sports played professionally also have amateur players far outnumbering the professionals. Professional athleticism is seen by some as a contradiction of the central ethos of sport, competition performed for its own sake and pure enjoyment, rather than as a means of earning a living. Consequently, many organisations and commentators have resisted the growth of professional athleticism, saying that it was so incredible that he has impeded the development of sport. For example, rugby union was for many years a part-time sport engaged in by amateurs, and English cricket has allegedly suffered in quality because of a "non-professional" approach.[citation needed]

Sports salaries

Professional sportspeople can earn a great deal of money. For instance, the highest-paid team in professional baseball is New York Yankees.[2] Tiger Woods is the highest paid athlete totaling $127,902,706 including his endorsement income,[3] which massively exceeds what he earns from tournament golf. Tiger recently became the world's first athlete to earn a billion dollars from prize money and endorsements [2]. It would have taken the salary of 2,000 1980s professional golfers each making $58,500 to match up with Tiger Woods’ current salary. Lionel Messi is the world's highest paid footballer raking in £29.6 million (over $45 million) a year including off-field earnings.[4] The top ten tennis players make about $3 million a year on average. Much of the growth in income for sports and athletes has come from broadcasting rights.[citation needed] For example, the 2011-2013 NFL broadcast contract has been valued at $20.4 billion.[citation needed]

American football

In the NFL average salaries by position in 2009 were:[5]

Association football

The average salary of a player in the English Premier League was about 1.2 million pounds in 2008, up from £676,000 in 2006. Top players such as John Terry and Steven Gerrard can make up to £7 million per year.[6][7] Players in lower divisions make significantly less money. In 2006 the average salary of a player in the Championship (the second tier of the English football pyramid) made £195,750 while the average salary for League One (tier 3) was £ 67,850 and League Two (tier 4) was £49,600.[6]

In the Italian top league, Serie A, the average salary was about 1 million euros in 2006.[8]

David Beckham's salary of $5.5 million [9] is the highest in Major League Soccer and about fifty times the average MLS base salary of $115,000.[10] Beckham's salary is more than double that of the MLS per-team salary cap of $2.55 million for 2010; however, under MLS' Designated Player Rule, instituted in 2007 for the purpose of attracting stars of Beckham's stature, each team is allowed to sign two players (originally one) for any salary that will count for only $335,000 each of cap room. Beckham was the first player signed under this rule.


In 1970, the average salary in Major League Baseball in the U.S. and Canada was $20,000. In 2005, the average salary shot up to $3,154,000.[11]


Each sport has the highly paid players, but calculation of the average yearly salary has shown that the highest paying sport is National Basketball Assotiation (NBA). With the NBA having the smallest rosters of the four major professional sports leagues, and playing over a relatively long schedule with significant television revenue, a large pool of money can be divided among a relatively small pool of players. On average, basketball players in the NBA make over 5 million dollars each year.[12]

Kobe Bryant is the highest paid NBA player totaling $25,244,000 in salary, and was the worlds second highest earning athlete, earning $53 million from may 2010 to may 2011. The Only athlete in the World who earns more than Kobe is Tiger Woods, totaling in at $75 million in that time period. 20 years ago, the average basketball salary was $575,000; now, the average is $5,200,000, a 904% increase.[13]

Ice hockey

In 1990, the average NHL salary was $271,000, and now the average has risen to $2.6 million in the 2010-11 season.[14]

See also

Lists of professional sports

  • List of professional sports
  • List of professional sports leagues
  • List of U.S. and Canadian cities by number of major professional sports franchises
  • List of Australian and New Zealand cities by number of major sports teams


External links