27 September 2010

This Can't be Sustainable

The WSJ reports that 5 MLS players receive about 30% of the league's entire payroll:
David Beckham and Landon Donovan of the Galaxy and Rafael Marquez, Juan Pablo Angel and the injured Thierry Henry of the Red Bulls make a combined $21.7 million in guaranteed compensation from their clubs. This represents about 30% of the entire league payroll of $71.3 million, according to MLS Players Union figures. In fact, those five players combine to make nearly four times as much as the entire team with the next-highest payroll, the Chicago Fire. And Messrs. Henry and Beckham individually make more than every team except their own. Mr. Beckham, with a $6.5 million salary, makes more than the combined payrolls of the New England Revolution and defending champs Real Salt Lake.
MLS won't become a serious second tier league until it can do more than pay high salaries to aging former superstars.


  1. Without juxtaposing merchandising, tickets and other potential ROI figures associated with having these players in a squad, I don't think that it's reasonable to treat these salaries necessarily as disproportionate or unreasonable, or even unsustainable. These are quantifiable numbers, missing from the WSJ article, but there is also a team-placebo/opposition-anti-placebo effect which, while less easily quantified, cannot be dismissed outright.

    I'm not suggesting that these salaries are not "silly money" - I suspect they are - but there is more to the balance sheet with such prominent and highly regarded players than just their wage slip.

  2. Check how many of the UK's football teams have/will be/are virtually bankrupt.
    Liverpool next? Even if it's just to get rid of their American owners.
    Even such relative minnows as Scunthorpe United, currently 16th place in the division below the Premier League, pay their players more as year than David Cameron gets.