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Lee H. Igel & Robert A. Boland

In: 21st Century Economics: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 53: Earnings of Professional Athletes

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Earnings of Professional Athletes
Earnings of professional athletes

One of the greatest challenges facing professional sports has been the rapid increase in earning power of professional athletes during the past quarter century. This challenge is likely to dominate the sports business landscape in the coming decades, especially as salaries and endorsements that have reached averages in the millions of dollars encounter an increasingly turbulent, complex, and transnational economy. But now, more than ever before, the income potential of professional athletes has significant implications for the relationship among sports, business, and society.

As professional sports became more organized during the twentieth century, professional athletes in all developed countries were increasingly paid several times the average worker's salary. But even the relatively high-paying jobs that persisted through the first ...

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