This is probably more of a societal issue than one confined to the world sports. Entertainers such as Beyonce make an insane amount of money, Wall Street traders can make bonuses in the eight figure range and even lottery winners get a huge chunk of cash for doing nothing more than buying a ticket. But since my focus is generally on sports, I'll confine my comments to that arena. I'm not really calling for legislation or government intervention, but more the recognition on the part of our society that there may be better and more humanitarian ways to use billions of dollars. It's amazing what we could do with that amount of funding if we just cut sports salaries in half. I find it hard to believe that Greinke would quit the game if his contract was only for $17 million a season or that Nick Saban would find another line of work if he was only earning a paltry $3 million to coach football. What I'm calling for is that people examine for themselves the actual value of supporting, whether it's through ticket sales, direct contributions or the purchase of advertised goods and services, the high salaries for players and coaches.
I'm not giving the PGA Tour a pass here either. They flaunt how much money is given to charity, but they're only able to do that because the local events are staffed by primarily volunteer workers that devote a week of their lives to the cause due to the charity contributions. The Tour, which yesterday concluded their signature event, the Players, was bragging about the $75 million that they've given to local charities since the event was started in 1974. By my math, that's roughly $1.8 million a year. The purse alone for last weekend's tourney was over $10 million. So that's $10 million for the players, a couple of million for the charities and $0 for the volunteers, except for discounted food and passes to the tournament. It's undisclosed the amount that was left over to line the coffers of the Tour itself. What other business gets to thrive and pay it's performers millions while the majority of the help works for charity, most of which just ends up being a nice tax write-off? Don't get me wrong, at least the PGA tour is giving to charities that are in desperate need for the funds. But I'm not naive enough to think that the first check written is to the deserving organizations.
I would like to see a more aware public and sports culture start to stand up and demand a more rational and realistic use of these billions of dollars. Because ultimately, whether it's through increased prices to pay for advertising which pays for rights fees which go to the sports organizations, or higher cable bills to pay for rights fees which go to the sports organizations, or...Anyway, you get my point. We're paying for it in some way, and the only way to stop it is to stop paying. I'd really love to see a weekend where no one goes to a game and no one watches an event so that the people in charge understand who is really, ultimately and totally in control. Without fans paying for tickets or corporation paying for advertising and luxury suites, there isn't any money, or at least not enough to pay Zack Greinke $1,000,000 a game.