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QotD: Tiger’s Pay

Question: Tiger Woods just surpassed $50M in career earnings (in nearly 10 years on the PGA Tour). Is he underpaid?

My Answer: He makes more off the course in sponsorships and whatnot than any other athlete anywhere, so if we're including that money, no, he's not underpaid. If we're comparing him to every other professional sport - sports in which you're rewarded handsomely for your performance in the past and can make $10M/year (or more) - yes, he is. Nobody in any other sport has come close to being as dominating as Tiger has in his sport. And finally, if you look at it purely from a capitalism/free market perspective, well, Tiger is paid exactly what the market will bear.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

7 Responses to "QotD: Tiger’s Pay"

  1. I agree with basically everything you are saying, but you don't think Roger Federer has been as dominant in Tennis as Tiger has in Golf?

  2. If I followed tennis I might be able to answer that for you.

  3. Lance Armstrong has definitely been as dominant in cycling.

  4. Alright, fair enough. For the last two years at least Roger Federer has been the dominant player on the tour. He won three of the four majors last year, something no one had done since 1988. He has lost only three matches this year, and he is undefeated in his last 21 finals. Both last year and this year he has set new records for early qualifying for the tour championships and he went through a fourteen month period where he didn't lose to a top ten player.

    I still totally agree with your point though.

  5. No, he's not underpaid, "mainstream" professional atheletes are overpaid. Substantially.

  6. Adam, they're paid what the market will bear.

  7. Yep. Of course, I note that 'mainstream' fans seem to buy into the owner's wailing of "We haaaaave to raise ticket prices, the athlete's are so greeeeeeedy", and are curiously blind to the fact that the same owner pleading poverty is living in the gold-plated lap of luxury.

    But the owners don't have to reveal their income from their teams. Makes it easier to lay the blame at the feet of the athletes.