I remember when sports writers were commenting about how million and multi-million dollar per year contracts would become the norm. It was in the late 80’s and when they talked multi-million they meant 1+ to 2 million dollars. I couldn’t imagine a player making more than that. It wasn’t the norm.
Then on February 1st, 1992 the unthinkable occurred and the landscape of super rich contracts emerged. To think that the contract signed on that day would pale in comparison to today’s contracts was also unthinkable.
February 1st 1992 – Barry Bonds Sings Highest Single Season Contract for $4.7 Million
As mentioned above, I couldn’t even imagine that a player would make almost five million dollars per season. Looking back, it seems funny. A five million per season contract for a MLB superstar today would be considered a slap in the face and wouldn’t be acceptable.
Those were the times I grew up in and the players of the 80’s were considered greatly richer than what professional athletes received in prior eras. The athlete in the late 80’s and 90’s were considered to be entitled and greedy. I guess things are relative but it was just the beginning of what was to come. We are still talking about the entitled and greedy athlete (even if that's unfair) but today's MLB players make so much more than the so called greedy athletes of the 80's and 90's.
Today, we are thinking about when the first billion dollar contract will be signed and how many years that will cover. We’ve seen multi-year contracts exceed $250 million, so a billion dollar contract is sure to be around the corner.
The reason that these contracts occur today is due to sponsorship deals that MLB and other professional sports leagues have with the major networks who are willing to pay billions of dollars to receive television rights.
With amount of money that networks are willing to pay increasing, comes the fact that fewer and fewer people are able to afford watching their favorite professional sports teams in person.
There is a benefit to having the major networks pay a king’s ransom for the right to televise games. In today’s sports world fans have many options to watch their favorite teams. We also have many games to choose from.
For me, I don’t miss not attending more games in person. Well that’s not totally correct. I sure wish I could attend more MLB and NHL games in person. I love the atmosphere of watching Wild and Twins games live. Even though I wish I can watch more games in person, the availability of live sports events and the fact that technology has greatly enhanced the viewing of these games, I don’t feel as if I’m missing out that much on getting my sports fix.