Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Beckham salary backlash

From the moment David Beckham signed his $250 million deal it was obvious there would be some sort of backlash by the other 300 some players in the league. Sure enough, it is here.

The MLS Players Union is objecting to the league only paying $12,900 a year to 57 developmental players and $17,700 a year to another 36 developmental players. It goes without saying that this is not a lot of money, but Ivan Gazidis, the league's deputy commissioner, says the union should not complain as they agreed to those wages.

Gazidis goes on to point at that, "The kinds of salaries that are being paid compare favorably with those in professional baseball's minor leagues."

As the LA Times points out, this is true:
The $12,900 figure breaks down to $1,075 per month, which is more than the $900 a month earned by Class-A baseball players, Gazidis said, while the $17,700 figure equates to $1,475 a month, close to the $1,625 earned by double-A players.

The problem with this argument is these players are not playing in the lower USL division, instead they are part of the top pro league. Yes, they might not be getting pitch time, but they are still part of the full roster and can, if needed, be called into first team action.

In addition, these numbers hurt the league as they are the ones that detractors always point to when talking about soccer (how many times have I read something that has the line 'in a league were a number of players earn less then $13,000 a year.').

I do understand where MLS is coming from in that there are more things to spend money on then there is money to spend, but player wages are not the place to cut costs. Bumping all these salaries up to at least $20,000 a year would not cost much (about $550,000 a season) and would reflect well on the league. It still is not much, but at least it would be twice the income described as poverty in the US.

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Blogger JDJ said...

Cost of living should also be considered when evaluating player's wages. I used to be a reserve with the Galaxy, doing coaching jobs on the side and a lot of the other guys were, too. Fortunately for me my wife had a job and we were able to find a great deal on a nice apartment. Other guys on the team who were single, though, were living 3 to a 2 bedroom in not so great areas. These are professional athletes we're talking about. I'm certain the same doesn't happen in Columbus or Kansas City, where the cost of living is cheaper. If the league won't bump up everyone's salaries, then they need to at least pay players based on the city they live in to help these guys out.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Fullback said...

I agree completely about raising developmental salaries. The league should look at it as an investment. Spending half-a-mil for a pool of nearly 100 players, any one (or more) of whom could develop enough to warrant a significant transfer fee that pays back the investment seems reasonable. If salaries don't go up, the better, and frequently more ambitious players, will continue to jump to the USL or second-tier European leagues.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:19 PM  

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