Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fiscally responsible?

Does the NFL have a salary cap? I have no idea. I know hockey does, and baseball does not. What I do know is that, salary cap or not, the New York/Jersey Jets have lost the concept of fiscal responsibility…but who’s at fault?

In short, the Jets will be paying Bart Scott $48 million dollars. Seems like a typical sporting contract to an elite player, if the money is there. The problem is, the money isn’t there--many their employees get a two-week furlough--unpaid vacation. I might call it a temporary lay-off, but I’m not a business person.

The claim of bringing on this linebacker for this much money is to make the team competitive. If the team isn’t competitive, then they’re not going to bring in fans, and if the fans don’t come, they won’t make money. On some levels, this makes sense. On others…not so much. If you can’t afford employees to be there to sell tickets, then you’re not going to sell tickets.

Team need to start considering how much is too much. In the recent past, the economy was strong, and every athlete got paid to live a glorious lifestyle. Because most fans were living a pretty good life as well, they may have rolled their eyes at the outrageous salaries, but they never thought much of it. Now, with the economy going down, even the fans who haven’t had changes in their financial situations are being cautious. In times of depression, the entertainment industry usually doesn’t have too hard of a time--people need escape. The thing to consider is that people will pick their entertainment with their budget in mind. The money will not always be freely spent, so the money will not always come in freely. Will paying Scott $48 million bring more than $48 million into the budget? Will that many more fans, and thus sponsors, come because of him? Will he be worth that much more than less expensive solution? That’s the call to make. And that won’t be known until the end of the contract; right now, people in the know need to guess.

And not that I blame Bart Scott*, but isn’t that a lot of money? For the last three years of Babe Ruth’s career, he made $10,000 more than the President at the time. The current President makes more in two years than Babe Ruth did in his entire career. MLB’s current minimum wage is equal to that of the President’s annual salary--and he only has a four-year contract, with an option for the next four years. So, the argument that athlete’s careers are so short is a little misguided, too.

*If my company offered to pay me $48 million, I’d take it, too. Because I knew if I didn’t take it, someone would. And in Scott’s case, someone else was going to pay him a lot of money anyway, so why not the Jets?

Finding out that a team played a player an insane amount when they couldn’t afford to pay the lower-paid employees will not look well. I’m not a Jets fan, but I hope this is a situation that the fans will consider. Again, I’m not familiar with football, so I don’t know how much they needed a good linebacker. I don’t know how much Scott is worth. This may all make sense to true football fans in the long-term thought. But right now, it just seems a bit blind to the current state of things.

Timberwolves update: 19-45 (1-3 since last time, 15-30 since McHale).

Marian Gaborik Injury Status: He’s with the team in Colorado, for whatever that’s worth.

The Twins signed Scott Baker to a four-year contract! Sure, he was theirs already for those four years, but it gives both sides a guaranteed amount of money. It helps both sides set a budget and gives them one less thing to think about.

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Blogger Ryan said...

The NFL does, in fact, have a salary cap

10:47 AM  

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