IPL players earn ‘enormous’ amounts; still their fee is far below than global footballers

The soldiers who guard our borders and sacrifice their lives to keep us safe, do not get paid as much as film actors and sportsmen. This question should make us think and look at the broader picture.

As expected, the IPL teams paid up mind boggling sums of money to buy their targeted players in the auction that was held on Tuesday. The first big sensation was created by Sunrisers Hyderabad when they snapped up Australia’s captain Pat Cummins for Rs 20.5 crores to set a new record. But within an hour he was eclipsed by his teammate Mitchell Starc.

The 33-year-old Starc emerged as the ultimate record breaker when he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for a whopping Rs 24.75 crores. The huge price tag will put enormous pressure on the Australian fast bowler to perform at his best.

Starc holds the record for reaching 150 and 200 wickets in the fastest time, taking only 77 and 102 matches respectively to reach those milestones. He is also the bowler who was the fastest in the history of Cricket World Cups to reach 50 wickets. Among Indian players, Harshal Patel (Rs 11.75 crores) and Sameer Rizvi (Rs 8.40 crores) struck it rich.

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IPL earnings are meagre

The money being earned by the IPL players may seem staggering but it is still meagre when compared to international football stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and many others. Mitchell Starc’s Rs 24.75 crore when converted to US dollars is about 3 million. Pat Cummins’ 20 crore will be slightly less than that.

Cristiano Ronaldo highest paid athlete of 2023

According to Forbes magazine, Cristiano Ronaldo was the highest paid athlete of the year in 2023. After he transferred himself to the Saudi Arabian football club Al-Nassr, Ronaldo pocketed $136 million. This consisted of $46 million on-field earnings and $90 million off-field earnings. He is contracted to remain with Al Nassr till 2025.

An article in Business Today stated that Ronaldo’s annual salary shot up to $75 million whereas his contract has been estimated to be worth more than $219.98 million. Ronaldo recently received a sponsorship from the crypto exchange called Binance which increased his off-field earnings to $90 million over the last 12 months.

Ronaldo was closely followed by Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe in this list. Messi raked in $130 million and he also has a clutch of lucrative endorsements under his belt including those from PepsiCo, Budweiser and Adidas. The other big star is Kylian Mbappe who can perhaps be called the biggest legend in the making. He may eventually be a bigger name than Pele, Maradona, Messi and Ronaldo himself.

There are other multimillionaire sportsmen from diverse sports like basketball (NBA), golf (PGA tour), boxing and tennis whose sky high earnings make IPL players look like poverty stricken individuals.

Are sportsmen overpaid?

But this also raises many questions. Should sportsmen who are basically entertainers be showered with these incredible amounts of money?  At one time sportspersons earned too little. But now the pendulum has swung to the other extreme and they earn more than they ever imagined.

This situation has its positive as well as negative aspects. The positive side is that sportsmen are better off now than they were earlier and nowadays the youth may become motivated to seek a career in sports.

The negative side is that there are professions where determined individuals are putting in lion-hearted efforts and making a big difference to society, but their earnings may be barely adequate.

For example, the soldiers who guard our borders and sacrifice their lives to keep us safe, do not get paid as much as film actors and sportsmen who merely entertain us. This is a question that should make us think and look at the broader picture. This situation needs to be addressed and debated on a broader platform involving political leaders and top economists.

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