Are these salaries fair to compare against each other?
Let’s take a look at the top 10 individual earners for 2013. We see a mix of 4 sports in the top 10 – Boxing, Soccer, NFL, and NBA. What we were interested in was how does these salaries look when looking at an “hourly wage”, or in this case a “wage per minute”.
How did we do this?
We looked at these top 10 people, taking into account their income and their total number of minutes in active competition in 2013. Active competition means: (1) for boxers, minutes during a round, (2) for soccer it’s time on the pitch, (3) for NBA it’s minutes per game, and (4) for NFL it’s an estimate of the time they’re actually on the field.
How do they compare?
Unsurprisingly, the boxer (Floyd Mayweather) comes out with a massively skewed number. His two fights in 2013 both went the full 12 rounds to a decision, and he made $73.5M. So, his pay was a quite remarkable $1.02M per minute!
If we next look at the 5 NFL quarterbacks that made the top 10 (Rodgers, Brady, Stafford, Ryan, Flacco) we see an average compensation of $98k per minute – more than the average annual income of someone with a doctorate in the US!
Finally, let’s look at Soccer and NBA together. The 3 top soccer salaries in 2013 (Ronaldo, Messi, Ibrahimovic) netted (bad pun) out at $10,026 per minute player. The top basketball salary (Kobe Bryant) was 10,130 / minute for the time he was on the court in 2013.
Clearly, it pays to be one of the best boxers in history. If you can’t manage that then try and be an NFL quarterback if you like a lot of free-time in which to spend your millions. Want to work for your money? Hop on a soccer pitch or on the hardwood of an NBA court.
One final thing we decided to look at in order to complement these numbers was to see which gives the people paying the bills the biggest payback in terms of support for their team. We decided to do this in 21st century style by looking at the interest of fans in their clubs. How many Twitter + Facebook followers do these clubs have? Well, not surprisingly for a true world sport the top 2 soccer clubs (Barcelona, Real Madrid) average 55 millions people! NFL, well, they average about 2M.