Banker pay and really serious sports people

I was pondering a number of things on my evening run up Pumlomon last night via a new path which approaches from the West direct to the summit. No photo's as I decided to take a extra thermal in my bum bag rather than a camera which turned out to be a good choice as the sun started to set. The main pondering was if a footballer paid N millions a year had advanced their sport to the same extent as Sara Outen or Jez Bragg.

I listened to Sara Outen interviewed on Radio 2 and it was just very impressive what she had achieved in rowing across the Indian Ocean. It felt disappointing she was having to sell her boat to pay back a loan. So many daft things she could be getting on with which push the limit beyond what has been done before in a small boat with no friends.

I have not met Jez, but we have run in a few of the same races (Jez at the front, me at the other end of the field). 3rd in the Western States is a uncelebrated national success. Maybe thats the difference, real ambition and ability which push at the boundaries of what is possible does not get widely celebrated.

I don't find the calls for reform of bankers pay any more or less compelling than the case for the reform for Footballers pay. Rowing solo across the Indian Ocean has a high level of obvious risk with a very personal set of rewards. I don't see a lot of risk in being a Footballer or a Banker, so the rational for the level of monetary reward escapes me as neither appears to be pushing the boundaries of what is possible and inspiring other people. Maybe that is entertainment for you. No one is going to pay to watch footage of Sara rowing 10 hours+ a day in the middle of the ocean or Jez plodding down a trail which looks the same as the next trail.

Comments:

Unfortunately, Clive, it's the willingness of customers, citizens and fans to continue to fuel and perpetuate what is clearly a disconnect between cost and real value.

Here in the US, a Federal Supreme Court justice takes home $208-218k as of 2009. I do not have to explain the significance or impact of their role on more than 306 million citizens and many more people worldwide.

In contrast, Judge Judy, whose role it is to entertain while she "presides" over the most ridiculous and arguably unimportant of cases as an arbiter in a make-believe court for a viewership of a few million, now commands 9 figure multi-year contracts.

There are many more examples in sports, entertainment and commerce.

We live in a society in which many believe they are perhaps one step away from fame or fortune. After all, they imagine, they could become multi-millionaires. Their kids could become famous actresses and footballers. Consequently, they don't want to bite the hand that they believe might one day feed them.

In the process, they teach subsequent generations that it's ok to pay an enormous premium for entertainment value and complain about even the slightest of cost increases for value outside entertainment that will have a real impact on their lives and the lives of others.

Posted by josephmartins on September 21, 2009 at 11:09 AM BST #

Clive, if you worked in an office rather than from home it would be easier to understand. A good proportion of conversations each morning are about the football, while you or I may not care about the sport. It is clear that there is a lot of money being made off the back of the game.

I am personally quite happy that a reasonable chunk of that cash ends up in the hands of the folks playing the game, rather than just the team owners and TV rights holders.

Posted by Doug Baker on September 24, 2009 at 03:43 AM BST #

I have never really got the tribal aspect of football, but I end up in other peoples offices often enough to know that such football discussions are yet an other good reason to work from home. On the other hand I do enjoy a good kick about when the opportunity presents itself.

It would be interesting to hear one of the academic football economists that appear on the Today Program comment on the distribution of money between the various parties in football.

My conclusion which is no great insight was that top end football today is entertainment rather than sport. The pay is for entertainment value rather than sporting achievement and pushing the sport/human endeavor boundaries forward and that I value the later more than the former.

Posted by guest on September 25, 2009 at 01:20 AM BST #

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