Professional athletes sacrifice important aspects of their lives, especially their health and family. For instance, during each season of any professional sport, there are away games that keep players from their families. More significant, though, is that players put their bodies in danger daily. Physical injury can leave professional athletes handicapped or disabled for the rest of their lives; NFL players who experience multiple concussions can suffer from progressive degenerative disease that causes dementia and depression.
Additionally, while most teenagers or college-age students spend their free time studying, working or hanging out, student athletes aiming to qualify for the pros spend all of their free time training. Thus, professional athletes’ salaries are a fair compensation for the countless time and energy they put into training and the huge health risks they take, especially considering that their careers typically end around the age of 35.
Franchise Players Sell More Tickets
Professional sports is a money-earning business. Sports teams know that to stay profitable they need to win, which is why they sign the best players available. Quality superstars, or “franchise players,” are the face of the team, the on-court leaders. They make their teammates better, thereby improving the whole team (think Tom Brady, Kevin Durant, and, of course, Michael Jordan, etc.). This leads to more wins and, in turn, more viewers, more merchandise sold and increased brand worth. Usually, a team has one franchise player, who makes a huge salary, arguably more than his projected value, since he drives the team’s business profitability forward.
The amount of money that team owners are willing to pay franchise players often comes at the expense of the other players. However, with fans willing to pay more than 100% premiums on tickets to see individual players, like LeBron James, franchise players have extra responsibility to live up to their star power. They also have the celebrity effect, which draws more paying fans in. Therefore, they deserve to earn more.