Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why Are Athletes Paid So Much

People have been debating why professional athletes are paid so much for a long time now. Yes, players of professional sports are paid a high premium, but it's not always the fault of the player. It's a matter of just trying to play the game and get the most for their hard work. Consider the following reasons why many players get paid so much.

Professional athletes do not just come out of the womb with amazing skills. Yes, some have God-given talent, but the majority of players have to work very hard for many years in a disciplined fashion that most people do not work with. Those that love the game are many, but those that are disciplined to work out daily with the mindset of a professional athlete are rare, and they that dedicate their lives to the game beyond being a fan get paid their due. An expert in any field demands a high paycheck, and with rarity and scarcity comes higher yields. Consider that there is only one Michael Jordan, only one LeBron James. And then consider the amount of effort they put into playing one game, to the maximum of their abilities, and you start to see why they are getting paid so much.

The second thing to consider is the system that is in place to purchase top-tier talent. There is a certain lottery system placed in regards to top talent, and the highest bidder usually gets the most yields. Much like paying top dollar for a rare car or comic book, players are treated as commodities that are valued in monetary senses. Yes, it seems like a meat market; but then again, it is what it is.

Another thing to look at is the stress and position that is placed on a professional player. If a player is paid a large sum of money, even over the course of several years, it's important to understand that the demands on them are far higher than people realize. A professional athlete is paid a big amount because they are responsible for putting butts in the seats. They sell tickets; one player can transcend even a team sport. Yes, people want to see the Miami Heat, and the Yankees, but they want to see A-Rod and they want to see LeBron-to boo or to cheer, but they want to see individuals. Even if you disagree, consider the fact that there are individual stats and awards given to the best players. If it really is a team sport, why are some players on the worst teams in MLB given such high paycheck? Consider Ichiro Suzuki, for instance, he commands a huge paycheck in Seattle-why? He hits well and he draws international fans to the stadium on a regular basis, and when he travels, many follow. There are far more demands on their time, and it's not always physical, and they are definitely not as "free" as some of us no-name people are.

Don't get the premise wrong; the cushy life of a superstar is not enviable. However, a highly-paid athlete is not sitting on a couch, eating popcorn, watching others. He is commanding a great deal of fanfare, a great deal of money is given to him in order for the team and the franchise to leach off their talent and continue supporting the game at all levels. A player that does not work hard is lazy, and lets himself go, ends up getting cut, traded and eventually abandoned from professional sports. There are a lot of mediocre players in professional sports, and guess what? They don't demand a high paycheck. Those that demand and get high pay also perform under high scrutiny, and are required to bring top-tier statistics to the table.