By Eshan Singh, Staff Reporter “Breaking: Devin Booker has just signed a four-year, $224 million contract extension with the Phoenix Suns.” Outrageous, right? The median American salary is less than $55,000, and Devin Booker is making more than a thousand times that — just because he is good at basketball. Every year, it seems like...
By Eshan Singh, Staff Reporter
“Breaking: Devin Booker has just signed a four-year, $224 million contract extension with the Phoenix Suns.”
Outrageous, right? The median American salary is less than $55,000, and Devin Booker is making more than a thousand times that — just because he is good at basketball. Every year, it seems like there is another headline announcing a record salary with too many digits to count.
However, most fans only see what the players make. Few people are aware of the astronomical growth of the franchises controlling them. According to CNN, since 1995, the average value of an MLB, NBA or NFL team has surged from between $200 million and $300 million to a jaw — dropping range of $2 billion to $3.5 billion — an increase of 1,000%.
How much have athlete earnings increased? According to the same CNN investigation, average MLB salaries have increased from $1.4 million to $4.4 million since 1990; NBA salaries have increased from $1.9 million to $9.6 million; and NFL salaries have increased from $790,000 to $3.3 million. In other words, MLB, NBA and NFL wages have increased by about 400%, 505% and 418%, respectively, less than half of the growth of franchise value.
These franchises are becoming more valuable because of the greater publicity that their athletes attract. The owners of the franchises are not doing anything differently from 30 years ago, but they are making twice as much as the athletes that make them money. That does not seem fair.
On top of that, the biggest money maker for major sports leagues is broadcasting deals. For example, the NFL agreed to a 10-year, $100 billion deal with various networks in 2021. These deals are so valuable because sports generate high numbers of viewers, who want to see their favorite athletes play. It is no coincidence that the teams with the most popular players get the most primetime TV slots.
The point is that growth in franchise value and athlete salaries depend on regular people to make money. Thanks to the rise of the Internet and social media where these players serve as influencers bringing in even more revenue, more people are becoming invested in sports. The Internet has also made it easier for fans to spend on sports. People can now buy tickets and merchandise from home rather than having to go to a store or stadium. All of this means that these massive franchises and broadcast networks are raking in even more money — money that the athletes aren’t getting a cut of, even though they’re the reason the whole system exists.
The next time you see a number like Devin Booker’s $224 million, think about how little the athlete is making compared to the money that the athlete is making the franchise and how much more they’re really worth.
Eshan Singh can be reached at [email protected].
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