Friday Food for Thought #10

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Last night I went to a Canucks hockey game with John – solely because he had no one else to go with him. I am not a sports fan – other than watching Rhett and Wyatt participate in hockey or karate. To make matters worse, John would not let me bring my Kindle to the game.
During the first period, I made a few observations:
1. Players should be mandated to wear visors at a minimum, if not cages. The “missing teeth” look is just not attractive.
2. The width of the aisles and size of the seats could not get any smaller without a mass Claustrophobic outbreak in the arena. Way too close for me.
3. The Anaheim Ducks need a new logo. Is this a duck’s bill, a duck’s foot, or a duck’s wing?
anaheim ducks

After the novelty of the first 20 minutes wore thin, I started to ponder the fact that Canadians are so accepting of the enormous salaries that professional athletes are paid (my spouse included). I am surprised that in a depressed North American economy – people are so willing to spend so much of their disposable income on professional sports. I also believe that many actors/actresses are overpaid – but I find a $12 movie ticket less disconcerting to purchase than $57 for a hockey game (NHL average). It’s not just hockey players who are raking in the top salaries – its baseball and basketball players as well.

In the 2011 – 2012 season, Canada’s Highest Paid Athletes per year were:
10. Eric Staal: $7.75 million – NHL Carolina Hurricanes
9. 5 way tie
Dany Heatley : $8 million – NHL Minnesota Wild
Duncan Keith: $8 million – NHL Chicago Blackhawks
Jason Spezza: $8 million – NHL Ottawa Senators
Steven Stamkos: $8 million – NHL Tampa Bay Lightening
Joe Thorton: $8 million – NHL San Jose Sharks
8. Sidney Crosby: $9 million – NHL Pittsburgh Penguins
7. Vincent Lecavalier: $10 million – NHL Tampa Bay Lightening
6. Joey Votto: $11.4 million – MLB Cincinnati Reds
5. Steve Nash: $11.7 million – NBA LA Lakers
4. Brad Richards: $12 million – NHL New York Rangers
3. Ryan Dempster: $14 million – MLB Chicago Cubs
2. Justin Morneau: $15 million – MLB Minnesota Twins
1. Jason Bay: $18.1 million – MLB New York Mets – (he has been traded to the Seattle Mariners)

These figures were taken from a Fox Sports Online report. I do understand that there is an argument around the profits made by team owners, and that the players are deserving of some of those dollars. Ultimately, it is the ticket purchasers who are funding this margin.

In comparison, here are the average yearly salaries of 10 typical Canadian careers:
Doctor/ Surgeon: $235,000
Dentist/ Orthodontist: $205,000
Petroleum Engineer: $140,000
Lawyer: $135,000
Computer and Information Systems Manager: $125,000
Pilot: $120,000
Pharmacist: $112,000
Registered Nurse: $75,000
High School Teacher: $65,000
Hair Stylist: $30,000

I struggle to understand why society feels that professional athletes need to be paid such exorbitant salaries? I appreciate that these athletes have a limited life span for earning potential – but can they not manage with a salary of $1 million per year? Saving and investing wisely – like the majority of Canadians who earn an average wage.
I would much rather pay a higher wage to the surgeon who will operate on me if I have a heart attack, or to the teacher who facilitates my child getting an outstanding education.
But, that’s just me.

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