Are professional athletes overpaid? This question continues to permeate conversations from the board rooms to locker rooms; to street corners and beyond. How much is too much money for an athlete to earn. Folks will argue that the money could be spent on increasing teachers salaries as they are responsible for sculpting the minds of the American youth. Athletes make more money in one day than most Americans will make in a lifetime. New York Times best selling author David Epstein posed the following question. “Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training?” If they are normal people should they receive normal salaries? However if they were put on ear to dominate their respective sports, shouldn’t they receive the millions that they demand for compensation. As an amateur golfer I played golf on my high school team and with the First Tee Program of East Lake in Atlanta, Georgia. I have been privileged to watch and work amonst some of the greatest golfers in the world to include Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar and Lee Westwood at the Fedex Classic in Atlanta Georgia. I was able to serve as a standard bearer in 2012 for Matt Kuchar and Lee Westwood and . I’ve witnessed a sporting event first hand that draws in annual crowd of over 700,000 fans over a 4 day period for just one tour championship. With an average ticket price of $100 for two days of access; I believe that athletes earn every penny that they make. The Fedex Tour Championship rakes in more than seven hundred million dollars not inclusive of sponsorships, merchandizing, t.v advertisements, and revenue generated for the city that is hosting the event. The prize money offered at the Fedex Cup Championship is miniscule in comparison to the overall money that is generated. Let’s not forget that these athletes essentially create jobs and keep people employed. Professional athletes are earning an average of 5- 10% of the total revenue generated from their respective sports. FedExCup Background Information
“The PGA TOUR entered a new era in 2007 with the introduction of the FedExCup, a season-long points competition, offering $35 million in bonus money and culminating with the PGA TOUR's first-ever Playoff system. In 2013, the four Playoffs events will offer $32 million in prize money, meaning a total of $67 million is on the line over the four weeks of FedExCup Playoff competition. During the span of 37 weeks of competition, players vie to become the FedExCup champion, which distinguishes the one player who not only performs well during the 33-week PGA TOUR Season but also excels through the pressure of the four-event FedExCup Playoffs. Tiger Woods won the inaugural FedExCup in 2007 and the $10 million top prize. He won for a second time in 2009. Others to hoist the FedExCup trophy include Vijay Singh (2008), Jim Furyk (2010), Bill Haas (2011) and Brandt Snedeker (2012).”
Every sport varies in how they compensate athletes. However golf is preeminently different in that you do not get drafted. You must perform on your own ability or you don’t eat. When you consider the amount of practice and preparation that most athletes endure in order to perform well in their respective sport; many would argue that they are not paid enough. One bad accident, one torn ACL could result in a career ending injury. Just today Tiger Woods had to drop out of the Honda Classic because Of back spasms. He will not be compensated. Whereas a normal person can work on a job for 30 to 40 years and retire; athletes only have a limited time span to work with the exception of golf. Professional athletes normally peak at their prime by the age of 30. “The average pro football career is only 3 and one-half years, according to the NFL Players Association, and a lot of the...
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