Economic disparity for Aussie athletes?
FiT author and labor relations expert Braham Dabscheck recently was quoted by WAtoday as saying Australian Football League (AFL) players should eventually take a 50% share in all league revenue.
While this number may sound high, it actually echoes the real numbers that other sporting leagues, such as the United State’s NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB—they all have over 50% player revenue shares. WAtoday also reports that the numbers are even higher for European football (soccer) league athletes.
Presently the AFL players have about a 21% share, and the AFLPA is going to negotiate for a notable and sizeable increase in share up to 27%. Athletes and their supporters have been pressuring for higher earnings ever since an AU$1.25 billion dollar TV rights deal was signed in April that will run from 2012 to 2017. Many Aussie footballers have publicized their frustrations regarding their lower pay on Twitter and through the media.
These developments overseas are especially poignant since they come on the heels of the NFL lockout.
As quoted in WAtoday:
Former Richmond star Matthew Richardson took to Twitter to point out the better deal enjoyed in the US – “NFL players get 57%. lot(sic) of factors come into it but thats (sic) a big difference” – while AFL boss Andrew Demetriou raised eyebrows when he described the AFLPA’s push for a fixed 27 per cent share as “lazy business.”
The real question for labor advocates and sport economists is: Where do you think the percent share should stand for professional athletes? Feel free to chime in.
[Braham Dabscheck is an industrial relations scholar and author of Reading Baseball: Books, Biographies, and the Business of the Game (FiT, 2011), as well as many essays and articles. He currently resides in New South Wales, Australia.]