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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Professional sports, as opposed to amateur sports, are sports in which athletes receive payment for their performance. Professional athleticism has come to the fore through a combination of developments. Mass media and increased leisure have brought larger audiences, so that sports organizations or teams can command large incomes. As a result, more sportspeople can afford to make athleticism their primary career, devoting the training time necessary to increase skills, physical condition, and experience to modern levels of achievement. This proficiency has also helped boost the popularity of sports.[1]

Most sports played professionally also have amateur players far outnumbering the professionals. Professional athleticism is seen by some as a contradiction of the central ethos of sport, competition performed for its own sake and pure enjoyment, rather than as a means of earning a living. Consequently, many organisations and commentators have resisted the growth of professional athleticism, saying that it was so incredible that he has impeded the development of sport. For example, rugby union was for many years a part-time sport engaged in by amateurs, and English cricket has allegedly suffered in quality because of a "non-professional" approach.[citation needed]



The 19th century English class system and professional players

Public schools had a deep involvement in the development many team sports had codes of football as well as cricket and hockey. Moreover, the ethos of English public schools[2] greatly influenced Pierre de Coubertin.[3] The International Olympic Committee (IOC) invited a representative of the Headmasters' Conference (HC, the association of headmasters of the English public schools) to attend their early meetings. The Headmasters' Conference chose the Reverend Robert Laffan, the headmaster of Cheltenham College, as their representative to the IOC meetings. He was made a Member of the IOC in 1897 and, following the first visit of the IOC to London in 1904, he was central to the founding of the British Olympic Association a year later.[4]

Until Recent times professional athletes in English sport, particularly cricket, were unthinkable and hence most players were amateurs.

The EPS subscribed to the Ancient Greek and Roman belief that sport formed an important part of education, an attitude summed up in the saying: mens sana in corpore sano – a sound mind in a healthy body. In this ethos, taking part has more importance than winning, because society expected gentlemen to become all-rounders and not the best at everything. Class prejudice against "trade" reinforced this attitude. The house of a typical EPS boy would have a tradesman's entrance, because tradesmen did not rank as the social equals of gentlemen.[5]

Within this class view it follows that if a person played a sport as a paid "professional", that would make the person a member of a trade. How could a club function when expectations demanded that some of the players enter through a side entrance? How would the social side of the club flourish if some of the members did not rank as gentlemen? How could a club of gentlemen which played a club of professionals possibly entertain their social inferiors?

Another prejudice which existed amongst late Victorian and Edwardian gentlemen held that the all-round abilities of British gentlemen allegedly meant that, if they put their minds to something, they would perform better than anyone else. This included the other British classes. The British attempts under Scott to reach the South Pole illustrate this prejudice. In the Scott expeditions, gentlemen refused to take the instructions of Canadian dog-handlers seriously, or to learn from Scandinavians how to use cross-country skis properly. To compensate for their failures to master dog and ski they persuaded themselves (and their contemporaries) that walking and to man-hauling sledges to the South Pole made the process more of an achievement.[5] If professional teams were to beat gentlemen amateur teams consistently, that might burst the illusion of social superiority, and that could lead to social instability, something not in the perceived interests of the British upper classes of the time.

Olympic Games

Until the late 20th century the Olympic Games nominally only accepted amateur athletes. However, successful Olympians from Western countries often had endorsement contracts from sponsors. Complex rules involving the payment of the athlete's earnings into trust funds rather than directly to the athletes themselves, were developed in an attempt to work around this issue, but the intellectual evasion involved was considered embarrassing to the Olympic movement and the key Olympic sports by some. In the same era, the nations of the Communist bloc entered teams of Olympians who were all nominally students or working in a profession, but many of whom were in reality paid by the state to train on a full time basis. In 1982 Adidas was paying British Olympic athletes to wear their gear. The first Olympics to officially accept professional athletes was 1988 in selected sports and 1992 in the remainder.[citation needed]

Sports salaries

Professional sportspeople can earn a great deal of money. For instance, the highest-paid team in professional baseball is New York Yankees.[6] Tiger Woods is the highest paid athlete totaling $127,902,706, including his endorsement income, which massively exceeds what he earns from tournament golf. Tiger recently became the world's first athlete to earn a billion dollars from prize money and endorsements. [1]. It would have taken the salary of 2,000 1980s professional golfers each making $58,500 to match up with Tiger Woods’ current salary. The top ten tennis players make about $3 million a year on average. Much of the growth in income for sports and athletes has come from broadcasting rights.[citation needed] For example, the 2011-2013 NFL broadcast contract has been valued at $20.4 billion.[citation needed]

American Football

In the NFL average salaries by position in 2009 were [7]:

  • Quarterback $ 1.970 Million
  • Defensive Tackle $1.224 Million
  • Running back $ 975,000


LeBron James is the highest paid NBA player totaling $40,455,000. Kevin Garnett had the largest salary from the NBA $22,000,000 excluding endorsements. 20 years ago, the average basketball salary was $575,000; now, the average is $5,200,000, a 804% increase.[8]


In 1970, the average salary for baseball was $20,000. In 2005, the average salary shot up to $3,154,000.[9]


The Indian Premier League (IPL) has highest salries of about $1.5 Million for each 45 day tournament season in 2008. [10] Earnings in English county cricket are significantly smaller with a minimum wage of £20,000 per year [11]

Association football

The average salary of a player in the English Premier League was about 1.2 Million pounds in 2008 up from £676,000 in 2006. Top players such as John Terry and Frank Lampard can make up to £7 million per year. [12]. [13] Players in lower divisions make significantly less money. In 2006 the average salary of a player in the Championship (the second tier of the English football pyramid) made £195,750 while the average salary for tier 3 was £ 67,850 and tier 4 was £49,600 [14].

In the Italian top league, Serie A the average salary was about 1 Million Euro in 2006. [15]

David Beckham's salary of $5.5 Million is the highest in MLS Soccer and about fifty times the average base salary of $115,000 [16]

Ice Hockey

In 1990, the average NHL salary was $271,000, and now the average has risen to $1.9 million in the 2008-09 season.[17]

See also

Lists of professional sports


External links

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