Let's have a little quiz on the finances of professional sport.
Q: How much money do professional athletes make?
A: Exactly this much, to the very dollar. It's way too much. Those guys are greedy pieces of shit.
Q: How much money do owners make?
A: Uhhhhh.........we don't know. And probably the government doesn't even know because most owners employ teams of highly paid accountants to hide revenue and exaggerate expenses. But hey because of them (swoon!) we have our favorite sports team to walk through life with and even sometimes drink beer to.
These thoughts are spurred on by an article by the kickass blogger @DrewGROF at TheScore. His thoughts were spurred on by an odd (and dickish?) move by the Philadelphia Phillies to cause an unsigned draft pick/college student to lose his final year of NCAA eligibility. I recommend reading the whole thing but in the meantime consider this:
There is so, so much money in the game right now. The owners wield so much power, securing the lion’s share of revenue in the latest collective bargaining agreement – the same CBA that saw the union siphon draft dollars away from non-members like Wetzler in exchange for increasing salaries at the big league level. Every advantage is tilted towards the owners, who aren’t required to open their books yet somehow every single contract detail for every single player is leaked and publicized on dozens of websites.
So many fans harbor intense animosity and straight-up resentment for the amount of money players make (this is not new.) The tongue clucking and unchecked glee with which “player X made Y dollars and is now broke!” are shared around only serves to underscore the prevailing notion that nobody should make such a large sum playing ” a child’s game” yet an art collector born on third base can weasel his way into owning a team while proudly crowing about the triple he just lashed to the gap. It’s an ugly side of the sports fandom that is only getting worse.
While the TV riches float the top end of the salary tax brackets up, they might end up having the reverse effect on salaries in some markets. As the TV revenue begins dwarfing other sources of income for teams, the incentive to spend and “buy” a competitive team lessens, does it not? Why spend extra money when the impact on your bottom line is negligible? Clubs cry poor and cite budgets when they aren’t poor and their budgets are in place to save them from themselves, mostly.
While I'm not saying that players are saints and owners are scumbags, I wonder if the ultra-wealthy are spared the critical eye of we, the sports-horny public.
I need to go now.