Football Wages: How Much Do Footballers Get Paid?

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A footballer with the ball at his feet

Many would say ‘too much’, but it’s often the clubs pushing up wages rather than individual footballers. Will the bubble ever burst?

How much do footballers get paid?

The average wage of a Premier League footballer is just over £60,000 a week, which equates to more than 3 million a year. Premier League footballers are the highest paid; lower divisions receive much less.

Championship wages are just over £4,000 a week, which is around £200,000 a year. This is an excellent example of how quickly wages can drop below the Premier League, even though they’re still generous.

Players in the bottom division are paid considerably worse than Premier League and even Championship players, earning around £750 per week, which isn’t much higher than the national average.

As footballers climb the rankings and show off what they have to offer, demand for them increases, which can quickly them rolling in cash if they make the right career move.

Who are the highest paid footballers?

David De Gea of Man United is the highest-earning player in the Premier League; he makes around £350,000 a week. Even this is nowhere near the huge sums that Messi and Ronaldo earn though.

Salaries in football have increased more than 200% since 2000, which demonstrates the increasing pots of money the sport has to play with.

Why do they get paid so much?

Good footballers are in high demand because they increase the likelihood of a team winning a title, which means the team will make considerable amounts of cash by selling broadcasting rights, tickets and merchandise to its fans.

It’s all about supply and demand. Believe it or not, there’s a shortage of players that can hit the same mark as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. What this means is that clubs need to bid for players, outbidding each other to ensure they win the best players who, in turn, will take the club further and earn it money. It’s a win-win situation – for those directly involved, at least.

The amount of money in the football pot has increased with consumer demand and technological advances, such as the paid television market, which is incredibly profitable for broadcasters. In 1992, rights to air the Premier League sold for just under £200m, compared to the breath-taking £5 billion that was paid for the rights for the 2019-20 season.

David De Gea of Man United earns an estimated £350k per week

Sponsorship and collaboration

It’s important to remember that footballers don’t just make money from what they do off the pitch. Off the pitch, many of them are celebrities in their own right with enormous international followings. Because of this, they can command huge sums of money for sponsorship deals, product advertising and endorsements.

Nike, for example, sponsors hundreds of footballers. Some of its key names include Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kingsley Coman, and dozens of others throughout England, Europe and the world.

Adidas also sponsors many international players and teams, including Brazil, Algeria, Japan, Hong Kong, China and many others.

Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr. earns an extra £30m from 13 sponsors. Cristiano Ronaldo has 12 sponsors and earns similar amounts to Neymar. Even less in-demand footballers such as Sergio Aguero earn hundreds of thousands in sponsorship, for contracts usually spanning a couple of years.

Is it likely that wages will decrease?

The only instance that footballer’s wages would decrease is if people lost interest in football. In doing so, clubs would not be able to make as much money for the game and, therefore, wouldn’t be able to pay footballers as much as they do currently. However, with billions of avid football fans actively watching football every year, that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Some young adults are being put off football, however. Thee cost of tickets is considered one of the biggest obstacles for young adults to attend football games which, in many cases, has them attending less or not attending at all, which isn’t good news for clubs.

It’s not just footballers that get paid huge sums

Football managers also reap the financial rewards of football – perhaps more so than the players.

Mikel Arteta, manager of Arsenal, is one of football’s lesser paid managers, but still takes home £7m a year. That’s nothing compared to ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s annual pay packet, which was around £17m.

Jose Mourinho, manager of Tottenham, earns around £15m a year.

Which football club is the most valuable?

If a player is paid well, it usually means the club’s doing something right. That’s certainly the case for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona the world’s most valuable football clubs, with valuations of over £3 billion.

Clubs like Liverpool and Chelsea are valued much lower at £1.4-1.6 billion.

Even the lower-value clubs are holding onto enormous levels of financial pull. England, Spain and Germany are currently the world leaders in terms of value.

In summary

Footballers are paid extortionate amounts of money, but that’s not looking like it’ll slow any time soon. Lionel Messi, for instance, may be taking home more than £70m every year, but the fans don’t seem to have a problem with it.

The only instance in which footballers will see a decrease in their earnings is if fans stop watching full-stop, which is incredibly unlikely. And even if match attendance slows, football clubs can make up the money lost with live broadcasting. They have an enormous amount of power and influence, which means money is unlikely to ever be a concern, so players will continue to earn large sums.

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