Ridiculous Salaries For Athletes, Or Creating Jobs? I’m Weighing In!

I think I have had enough of how far we are willing go to keep up this stupid game of professional athletes and agents trying to outdo the salaries of others. Somebody has to say it, and call out the ridiculousness of professional sports contracts. This past week we have seen Major League Baseball contracts rise to an obscene level. This morning I wake up to the news that Robinson Cano will receive a $225 million contract for the next 9 years to play baseball for the Seattle Mariners…but the deal is not yet totally finished. He wanted a $305 million deal for 10 years, but did not get it. Wow. Really? This of course is on the heels of other contract negotiations that happen every year at the conclusion of a professional season – whatever the sport. Is it never enough?

As a former four sport athlete who did pretty well in my day as an All-American in two sports, and All-State in all four in high school, I had to hang up my jersey during college due to devastating injuries. But life seemed to go on for me. As an athlete who has played on high school state championships, and a collegiate national championship team, and to watch my kids play sports, I am so excited to watch athletes participate in the sport of their choice! But I have to say something here about these ridiculous professional sports contracts that seem to have no end of how much athletes will be paid.

In comparison, I run a foundation today for military veterans to help them with their struggles of lack of employment, and help them start businesses. It is truly an honor to server those who have sacrificed so much on our behalf. Doing this kind of work is also a great eye-opener to how screwed up our thinking is. An athlete who is coddled, and pampered and given millions of dollars each year to entertain is a stark contrast to the comparison of our military heroes who have fought for our freedoms. Our soldiers come home to oppressive debt, uncertainty of making a living and supporting a family, and very high unemployment…to the tune of 30% unemployment for young veterans.

Can you image what the impact would be, or how many jobs could be created, if small businesses had access to the same amount of even one highly paid athlete? I have done a little number crunching, and I can tell you that if small businesses had even a fraction of the money spent on these athletes, they could create billions in revenue, and tens of thousands of new jobs.

Since I helped create the Entrepreneurship system at a major university, and have taught over 3,500 students to specifically learn how to launch and grow a successful business, I have seen what the numbers look like. Here is a quick overview of the impact that $225 million, or in this case $225 million over 9 years could be for creating jobs based on a 10 year study of creating, launching and teaching entrepreneurship to 3,500 students.

The numbers from my experience are laid out like this: 3,500 students taught, roughly 34% ended up starting a business (1,190) and these small businesses created an average of 12 jobs. (Several of the businesses created hundreds of jobs, but on average it is about 12). The economic impact is 14,280 new jobs created, and roughly $92 million in annual revenue. Staying on our theme of 9 years – the combined 9 year revenue is about $835 million. On average these new companies raised about $57,000 each to launch, which comes to about $67 million raised to launch 1,190 businesses. The revenue produced with these 1,190 companies is 12X the initial investment!

Let’s get back to my question, “can you image what the impact would be if small businesses had access to the same amount of even one highly paid athlete?” If you take the same kind of formula, it would equal $2.7 billion! Now I realize that there is not an exact comparison of these two examples of athletes and business owners, but the notion of creating jobs for many, versus a ridiculous number being paid to one person, it really is crazy.

I also know how much time and effort, blood sweat and tears athletes put into building their career. That is not in question here, what is in question is how much are we willing to keep shelling out to be entertained? And, when will we stand up and start helping small businesses get to the next level of creating jobs, generating revenue, and growing our economy?

Millions of people love to watch athletes perform, and I am certainly one of them. It’s time to start thinking more clearly about creating more jobs. What if we took it even one small step further…what if we had the athletes take 10% of their pay and donate it to a charity that will do good in local communities? Now that would be something that is newsworthy and worth writing about!

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