Chew on this the next time your local columnist spouts off about how baseball salaries are out of step with reality or out of touch or insensitive or whatever the hell else mere economic transactions are incapable of being:
Major League Baseball players received about 52 percent of leaguewide revenue last season, said MLB’s Rob Manfred, which would appear to leave baseball players with the lowest percentage of revenue among the Big Four team sports.
Under their respective collective-bargaining agreements, NHL players received 56.7 percent last season, NBA players about 57 percent and NFL players about 59 percent.
It is impossible to make an apples-to-apples comparison among the sports. Manfred, MLB executive vice president in charge of labor, and other industry experts have said one reason it is not fair to compare the percentage of MLB revenue paid to players to other leagues is that MLB clubs collectively spend hundreds of millions of dollars on player development for players in the minor leagues.
Still, MLB players in the early part of this decade received a much higher percentage of league revenue, in the high 50s to low 60s. In recent history, the number peaked in 2003 at 63 percent.
Still, Manfred’s point is a good one: how much less would football players make as a percentage of the whole if the NFL had to underwrite college football or its equivalent? Of course, if the NFL did control college football it, being a rational economic actor desirous of making its fans happy, would have instituted a college football playoff system that would go a long way towards recouping the enterprise’s expenses. That, however, is a topic for another blog.
(thanks to Pete Toms for the heads up)