Friday, August 29, 2014


I was happy to hear that one of my favourite hockey players, P.K. Subban was able to get an 8-year deal done with the Montreal Canadiens. But the deal brought up a topic of interest to me regarding salaries. $9 million dollars. Per year. To play hockey. Why?

That's not the most either. Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators will earn $14 million this next season. Let's compare that with what players earned in 2005. Jaromir Jagr earned $8.36 million for the year. In 1995, Wayne Gretzky earned $6.54 million. In 1989, Mario Lemieux earned $2 million. In 1977, Bobby Hull earned $1 million. In 1967, Bobby Orr earned $35,000.

Now, the argument has always been that professional athletes deserve to earn a lot of money because they play a sport that could potentially end early with a career-ending injury. They also argue that the players are what attract the crowds to the arenas and that's what earns the teams their money. But players also earn money from lucrative endorsements. Consider Sidney Crosby, who earned a $12 million salary in 2013, but also topped up with around $2.1 million in endorsements, as much as the average NHL salary.

I ask you, does a hockey player need to make $15+ million in one year? Does a football player need to make $42 million in one year (Matt Ryan)? Does a basketball player need to make $30.5 million in one season (Kobe Bryant) - $61.5 million if you include endorsements? What does a well-paid soccer player make? $52 million without including endorsements (Cristiano Ronaldo). It would be $80 million if you included endorsements. But that pales in comparison to boxing. Floyd Mayweather earned $105 million last year. That was for 72 minutes of work. I know - that's unfair, as he has to keep practising all year. Tiger Woods earned $61.2 million last year, but $55 million of that was endorsements. Roger Federer (tennis) made $56.2 million, again, most of that - $52 million, was not salary. The highest paid Baseball player (Cliff Lee) made $25.3 million.

OK, so that's what the best earn. How about the typical players? Well, the minimum salary for a hockey player is just over $525,000. That seems pretty reasonable. For football, a rookie earns $420,000. A rookie basketball player earns around $500,000. Guess what a rookie soccer player gets? $35,000. That's it. That's a kick in the pants, isn't it? We can't really compare the rest of the sports, because what they earn is a direct result of how often they win.

Let's not focus on athletes alone though. Some actors get a lot of money for their films too. Robert Downey Jr. gets $75 million. The 10 highest paid actors earned at least $35 million each. Interestingly, the highest paid woman actor only got $33 million (Angelina Jolie).

Now let's take a look at CEOs. John Hammergren of McKesson medical supplies earned $131 million. OK, so CEOs make solid coin. But there are a lot of top bosses of great, money-making companies that know how to keep their earnings to a reasonable amount. Case in point - CEO of WestJet earns a base salary of $568,000. Mind you, if you add all his bonuses etc., his total reported earnings amount to $3 million. The CEO of Tim Hortons has a base salary of $452,000.

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