In the last quarter century, athletes across the world have morphed from working class heroes into Greek Gods. And nowhere has this transformation become more evident than when looking at athletes’ salaries.
LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo, and– believe it or not– Matt Ryan are currently at the top of their respective sports when it comes to salary. But their earnings can now be considered chump-change when compared to the world’s highest paid “team athlete.”
In a deal inked last week, Ferrari signed four-time defending world champion Sebastian Vettel to become the face of their Formula One team. The Daily Mail is reporting that the deal is a three-year contract worth 150 million British Pounds. Translated, that is equal to $80 million per year!
The dollar amount may be shocking, but Formula One racing teams seem to think that he is worth it. Over the last few years, while racing with Red Bull, Vettel has won 39 total races and 4 consecutive championships. The move also mirrors a career move made by Vettel’s hero, Michael Schumacher, who won five titles with Ferrari.
In an interview with The Guardian, Vettel says, “I think you need to understand that there’s nothing negative in the air at all. It’s not like I’m leaving because I don’t like it here or don’t like the people any more.”
However, while acknowledging that Vettel should reach out and take all that he can get, I still can’t help but be sickened that athletes are capable of snagging so much money. After all, we are talking about paying a guy $80 million per year for driving a freaking car. Something is obviously broken in the system, but I’m not sure how much can be done to change it because people are addicted. But think about this: if everybody just turned off their television sets and stopped going to the races/games/matches for one year, we could skunk up the system enough to overturn it. We could demand lower ticket prices and stop the highway robbery that’s taking place. Think about it.