Professional sports

Professional sports, as opposed to amateur sports
Amateur sports
Amateur sports are sports in which participants engage largely or entirely without remuneration. Sporting amateurism was a zealously guarded ideal in the 19th century, especially among the upper classes, but faced steady erosion throughout the 20th century with the continuing growth of pro sports...

, are sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

s in which athletes receive payment for their performance. Professional athleticism has come to the fore through a combination of developments. Mass media
Mass media
Mass media refers collectively to all media technologies which are intended to reach a large audience via mass communication. Broadcast media transmit their information electronically and comprise of television, film and radio, movies, CDs, DVDs and some other gadgets like cameras or video consoles...

 and increased leisure
Leisure, or free time, is time spent away from business, work, and domestic chores. It is also the periods of time before or after necessary activities such as eating, sleeping and, where it is compulsory, education....

 have brought larger audiences, so that sports organizations or teams can command large incomes. As a result, more sportspeople can afford to make athleticism their primary career, devoting the training time necessary to increase skills, physical condition, and experience to modern levels of achievement. This proficiency has also helped boost the popularity of sports.

Most sports played professionally also have amateur players far outnumbering the professionals. Professional athleticism is seen by some as a contradiction of the central ethos of sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

, competition
Competition is a contest between individuals, groups, animals, etc. for territory, a niche, or a location of resources. It arises whenever two and only two strive for a goal which cannot be shared. Competition occurs naturally between living organisms which co-exist in the same environment. For...

 performed for its own sake and pure enjoyment, rather than as a means of earning a living. Consequently, many organisations and commentators have resisted the growth of professional athleticism, saying that it was so incredible that he has impeded the development of sport. For example, rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 was for many years a part-time sport engaged in by amateurs, and English cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

 has allegedly suffered in quality because of a "non-professional" approach.

Sports salaries

Professional sportspeople can earn a great deal of money. For instance, the highest-paid team in professional baseball is New York Yankees
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are a professional baseball team based in the The Bronx, New York. They compete in Major League Baseball in the American League's East Division...

. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods is an American professional golfer whose achievements to date rank him among the most successful golfers of all time. Formerly the World No...

 is the highest paid athlete totaling $127,902,706 including his endorsement
In promotion and of advertising, a testimonial or show consists of a written or spoken statement, sometimes from a person figure, sometimes from a private citizen, extolling the virtue of some product. The term "testimonial" most commonly applies to the sales-pitches attributed to ordinary...

 income, which massively exceeds what he earns from tournament golf. Tiger recently became the world's first athlete to earn a billion dollars from prize money and endorsements. It would have taken the salary of 2,000 1980s professional golfers each making $58,500 to match up with Tiger Woods’ current salary. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
Lionel Andrés "Leo" Messi is an Argentine footballer who plays for FC Barcelona and captains the Argentina national team, mainly as a striker. Messi received several Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations by the age of 21, and won in 2009 and 2010...

 is the world's highest paid footballer raking in £29.6 million (over $45 million) a year including off-field earnings. The top ten tennis players make about $3 million a year on average. Much of the growth in income for sports and athletes has come from broadcasting rights
Broadcasting of sports events
The broadcasting of sports events is the coverage of sports as a television program, on radio and other broadcasting media. It usually involves one or more sports commentators describing the events as they happen.-United States:...

. For example, the 2011-2013 NFL broadcast
NFL on television
The television rights to broadcast National Football League games are the most lucrative and expensive rights of any American sport. It was television that brought professional football into prominence in the modern era after World War II...

 contract has been valued at $20.4 billion.

American football

In the NFL
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 average salaries by position in 2009 were:
  • Quarterback
    Quarterback is a position in American and Canadian football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive team and line up directly behind the offensive line...

     $ 15 Million
  • Defensive Tackle $1.224 Million
  • Running back
    Running back
    A running back is a gridiron football position, who is typically lined up in the offensive backfield. The primary roles of a running back are to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a rushing play, to catch passes from out of the backfield, and to block.There are usually one or two running...

      $5 million

Association football

The average salary of a player in the English Premier League was about 1.2 million pounds
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

 in 2008, up from £676,000 in 2006. Top players such as John Terry
John Terry
John George Terry is an English professional footballer. Terry plays in a centre back position and is the captain of Chelsea in the Premier League...

 and Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard
Steven George Gerrard MBE is an English footballer who plays for and captains Premier League club Liverpool. He also has 89 caps for the England national team. He has played much of his career in a centre midfielder role, but he has also been used as a second striker and right winger...

 can make up to £7 million per year. Players in lower divisions make significantly less money. In 2006 the average salary of a player in the Championship
Football League Championship
The Football League Championship is the highest division of The Football League and second-highest division overall in the English football league system after the Premier League...

 (the second tier of the English football pyramid) made £195,750 while the average salary for League One
Football League One
Football League One is the second-highest division of The Football League and third-highest division overall in the English football league system....

 (tier 3) was £ 67,850 and League Two
Football League Two
Football League Two is the third-highest division of The Football League and fourth-highest division overall in the English football league system....

 (tier 4) was £49,600.

In the Italian top league, Serie A
Serie A
Serie A , now called Serie A TIM due to sponsorship by Telecom Italia, is a professional league competition for football clubs located at the top of the Italian football league system and has been operating for over eighty years since 1929. It had been organized by Lega Calcio until 2010, but a new...

, the average salary was about 1 million euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

s in 2006.

David Beckham
David Beckham
David Robert Joseph Beckham, OBE is an English footballer who plays midfield for Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer, having previously played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, and A.C...

's salary of $5.5 million is the highest in Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer is a professional soccer league based in the United States and sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation . The league is composed of 19 teams — 16 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada...

 and about fifty times the average MLS base salary of $115,000. Beckham's salary is more than double that of the MLS per-team salary cap of $2.55 million for 2010; however, under MLS' Designated Player Rule, instituted in 2007 for the purpose of attracting stars of Beckham's stature, each team is allowed to sign two players (originally one) for any salary that will count for only $335,000 each of cap room. Beckham was the first player signed under this rule.


In 1970, the average salary in Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 in the U.S. and Canada was $20,000. In 2005, the average salary shot up to $3,154,000.


Each sport has the highly paid players, but calculation of the average yearly salary has shown that the highest paying sport is National Basketball Assotiation (NBA). With the NBA having the smallest rosters of the four major professional sports leagues, and playing over a relatively long schedule with significant television revenue, a large pool of money can be divided among a relatively small pool of players. On average, basketball players in the NBA make over 5 million dollars each year.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bean Bryant is an American professional basketball player who plays shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association . Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School, where he was recognized as the top high school...

 is the highest paid NBA
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

 player totaling $25,244,000 in salary, and was the worlds second highest earning athlete, earning $53 million from May 2010 to May 2011. The Only athlete in the World who earns more than Kobe is Tiger Woods, totaling in at $75 million in that time period. 20 years ago, the average basketball salary was $575,000; now, the average is $5,200,000, a 904% increase.

Ice hockey

In 1990, the average NHL
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 salary was $271,000, and now the average has risen to $2.6 million in the 2010-11 season.

Lists of professional sports

External links

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