Manning’s $15M far short of top earners in baseball, boxing, racing


As one of the named plaintiffs in the players’ antitrust lawsuit against NFL owners, Peyton Manning may have a particular interest in how his pay stacks up to that of the top stars in other sports — and if he takes a look at the numbers, he’ll see that his pay is dwarfed by that of the top earners in some other sports.

ESPN has compiled a list of the highest-paid athletes in just about every sport, and Manning checks in as the top NFL earner, with $15.8 million. (That’s just his salary from the Colts; the ESPN list isn’t looking at endorsement income.)

A $15.8 million salary is an awful lot of money, but it doesn’t come close to what the top earners in several other sports make. Among the athletes who make more than Manning are baseball player Alex Rodriguez ($32 million), boxer Manny Pacquiao ($32 million), auto racer Kimi Raikkonen ($26.3 million), basketball player Kobe Bryant ($24.8 million) and soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo ($19.5 million).

If the NFL franchise tag disappeared, and Manning could get a taste of true unrestricted free agency, he might find himself rivaling the top earners in all of sports. That’s probably not going to happen, but for Manning, it would be the perfect ending to the lockout.

71 responses to “Manning’s $15M far short of top earners in baseball, boxing, racing

  1. Can you imagine the crazy rules that the owners will try and get passed to keep their $40m/year QB safe? Holy crap. The NFL will be unwatchable. You thought we were throwing out comments about flag football before…

    The NFL is committing suicide.

  2. Of course football players get less pay. They play only 16 games a year, and a football team is at least twice as large as any other professional team. Comparing pay in a team sport to pay in golf of boxing is just crazy. Baseball has ten times the number of games to sell advertising and a corresponding number to sell out their stadium.

  3. MLB players also play 162 games a year.

    Peyton? Max of 20.

    Hello apple, this is orange.

    This lawsuit and Peyton’s involvement in it just confirms what a farce the Manning’s really are.

    From Peyton’s sexual assault of that female trainer to Eli’s refusal to go to the Chargers so the Manning’s didn’t have two sons in the same conference.

    Just a bunch of snobbish, entitled, egotistical hillbillies from New Orleans.

  4. Wait until he sees Albert Pujols new contract after this season! His contract is going to be worth double the NFL salary cap.

  5. And the point of this piece is….?

    Some of the “superstars” you mentioned are a team of one. An NBA roster has 15 players, with only 12 available on game day. Even MLB teams only have 25 players. That’s a far cry from the 53 player active roster of an NFL team, not including practice squad players.

    I don’t normally critique PFT wares but this has to be one of the most asinine and pointless piece posted I’ve read since following this site.

  6. 25 players on a baseball team, and play 162 games a yr. 12 players on a basketball team, 65 games a yr(I think). 53 on a football team playing 16 games. Manning will never in his wildest dreams make A-Rod money. And baseball is the hardest game to play,,,period. Anybody can put a basketball through a hoop. Anybody,,,,,,,,

  7. So I guess Manning’s idea of the perfect ending to the lockout is to make $30 million more than anyone else on his team, effectively ruining the game that has given him so much. Kind of selfish, isn’t he?

  8. The revenues and expenses generated by each of those sports are different.

    And regardless, if they want that much money, then maybe they should go play one of the sports that pays that much. Being good at one thing does not automatically entitle you to the same benefits as someone who is good at something else.

    Oh, and, even though he doesnt get as much in pay, I’m sure he probably likes the benefits he receives from the exposure and status he gets from being a part of football, because it has been built into Americas new game by the owners.

  9. None of those other sports has a hard cap and therefore the other sports aren’t as competative.

  10. By the hour of play, Manning is higher paid than most of those on the list. NFL players are not underpayed.

    Articles like this one are the kind of thing that puts the NFL and the NFLPA in the respective positions they find themselves in today.

  11. Wow and if the players get their way and the judge lifts the lockout this could actually happen. It would destroy the sport.

  12. @siggy00 says:
    Apr 21, 2011 1:00 PM
    MLB players also play 162 games a year.

    Peyton? Max of 20.

    Hello apple, this is orange.

    This lawsuit and Peyton’s involvement in it just confirms what a farce the Manning’s really are.

    From Peyton’s sexual assault of that female trainer to Eli’s refusal to go to the Chargers so the Manning’s didn’t have two sons in the same conference.

    Just a bunch of snobbish, entitled, egotistical hillbillies from New Orleans.
    Yeah right siggypoo…….Understand the baseball analogy, but the other remarks just don’t make it. You sound sort of oh I don’t know..snobbish, entitled, egotistical….I could go on but I won’t…Fool

  13. How about looking up something more relevant…like how big a slice of the revenue pie the players associations are making in these other sports?

  14. Besides roster limits, as another astute reader has pointed out, you fail to mention that football and perhaps basketball have the quickest route to the pros–and in basketball, only if you were a megastar 1st round pick would you get that kind of money.

    How many years of minor league ball does a player–no matter how talented–have to play before he makes the big show, and then, how many years after he makes the big show does he get the big money?

    Golf, and auto racing are individual sports–still, they have to serve their time working their way up the winning ranks before they get big-time money.

    In soccer, you go through a youth program, but it still may be years of playing first team 11 and consistently being good enough to score Ronaldo-type money. And in soccer, you can, as Ronaldo did, sign a big time contract, then say you are dissatisfied and want a transfer for even bigger money–contracts mean nothing in soccer.

  15. Peyton Manning doesn’t play 162 regular season games like Alex Rodriguez, he doesn’t take punches like Manny Pacquiao, he doesn’t risk his life like Kimi Raikkonen, and he doesn’t play 82 regular season games like Kobe Bryant. Perhaps that explains, in part at least, why he’s paid less.

  16. What this story tells me is the highest paid MMA fighter is far underpaid considering they train year round. Anderson Silva makes 600,000 in fight purses a year and he is one of the more marketable UFC fighters out there and a current champion. Georges St-Pierre makes a shade over a million a year if he fights 3 times in a year.

    That is part of what irks me about this NFL labor dispute. I also think Football players should make more than Baseball players but understand that Football is riskier so teams aren’t as willing to allow A-Rod-esque deals because of the potential short shelf life in the NFL.

  17. He may be paid less for playing football, but I am sure he makes up for it with a bit more in advertising than race car drivers and boxers would ever see.

  18. The other leagues are practically unwatchable. Not only that they have financial issues.

    The NFL is by far the most successful and profitable league. Why would you want to compare and pattern your success to those with a lesser quality/profitable product.

    Let’s face it, the NFL owners are in this to make money. If their margin becomes to little, than they will move on to other investments.

  19. Good point horsecore.

    Funny thing is that everyone assumes Peyton Manning is a 100% lock to return to the Colts. Rumors have floated about free agency, no NFL draft and other possible changes with a new CBA. What happens if the franchise tag changes and he becomes a true free agent? What would prevent a Daniel Snyder from signing him under a new CBA?

  20. The physical toll of 5 years of football is worse than 15 years of baseball, so the argument that players play more games doesn’t really hold water. Not to mention, the amount of practice time probably evens things out.

  21. hoobsher says: Apr 21, 2011 12:53 PM

    possibly because baseball players are the most overpaid athletes in the world.

    Talk to me when the NFL figures out how to get 3+ Million people through the gates over the course of a year as the top 8 teams in baseball did last year.

  22. mackie66

    Baseball is no more difficult than any other sport, it could be argued as the easiest, there are a lot of fat baseball players meaning it can’tbe that hard. Fat NFL guys are fat for a reason. Ouside of known sports, Golf and Baseball are the most overweighted athletes. Baseball’s an individual sport in my opinion, it’s basically piture vs hitter and if someone happens to hit the ball, or even more boring walk, then they run around a diamond… On top of that it may be the most unwatchable sport out there. In a 4 hour game, I bet the ball is in the pitchers hands for 2 of those hours.

    You compare it to basketball? Basketball you have to have the coordination to run, stop, shoot, and pass; all while dribbling the ball. You have to make short and long shots. There are actual team plays, rebounding, defense. Baseball you either hit or you don’t and for the most part the batter is just hoping for contact, and each player (minus the pitcher and catcher) probably averages 10 touches a whole game in the field throughout the game. Each player will have about 10 touches every couple minutes in basketball.

  23. dorn09 says:
    Apr 21, 2011 1:17 PM
    Lets see,

    Peyton Manning – $1 million per game
    Alex Rodriguez – $197,000 per game
    Kobe Bryant – $292,000 per game
    Cogent and insightful point. And:

    Racing and Boxing – Individual sports.
    Basketball – 15 man roster
    Baseball – 25 man roster
    Soccer – 25 man roster
    Football – 53 man roster

    Football has at least twice as many people to pay than any other sport. I wonder how good he would be if they didn’t pay his line.

  24. If he wanted to be paid baseball money he should have played baseball. I he actually got baseball money he’d complain about not winning any championships because he’s hogging all the cap space and he’s surrounded by rookies, castoffs and street free-agents.

  25. The NFL TV deal generates more money in 16 games than the MLB TV deals do in 162.

    I do not care how much money Peyton Manning makes, but in this country he should be allowed to make as much as any other athlete.

  26. Break down what Peyton makes and divide by 20 the break down what A-Rod makes and divide by 162 if Peyton wants to bitch tell him to hit the batting cage of play another sport!

    BTW here are the #’s

    Peyton makes 790K per game*
    This also doesn’t include a pro bowl bonus, super bowl bonus, and other incentives.

    A-Rod makes 185 K and change

    If this is an issue why do they keep fighting a longer season? Are we to assume they want to be paid like it’s an 18 game season in only 16 games? Doesn’t this just confirm what the owners are saying you can’t squeeze blood from a stone, to have higher salaries you need to generate more revenue IE a longer season! I understand that having a longer season means there is a potential for more injuries, I agree with the players on this………..but you can’t have it both ways if the league can’t find a way to make more $ the players can’t keep expecting a bigger piece of the pie with ever new CBA! Now that is just simple math……… any other time it wouldn’t be an issue the owners would just increase ticket prices. The problem is we are in a recession, plus to a lot of fan’s it’s just as easy to sit at home and watch on the TV. There needs to be a balance between filling the seats in a stadium, TV rights costs, NFL package costs, and the cost to modernize stadiums at the end of their depreciated lifespan.

    When some of players in the NFL actually gets an MBA (highly unlikely) they may actually get what the owners are trying to tell them! It short owners have far more to worry about than paying the players.

  27. What’s the franchise tag got to do with it? He could hold out, miss 6-7 games, sign the tag, then walk. Or Indy would see how bad they suck without him and pay him!

  28. Did Archie put a gun to his head, force him to play football, and not even let him play little league? Or did Peyton choose to play football?

  29. They should also not overlook that Peyton Manning received $34.5 million in bonus money at the front of this contract that could not be prorated for the length of the deal because of the cap and its implications.

    His cap number in 2011 is $15.667 million, down from $19.267 million in 2010 which is down from $21.2 million in 2009. As the money that was paid up front clears, it makes his deal better.

    Where were all the owner advocates when he was eating up $21.2 million in 2009 which was roughly 15% of his team’s salary cap.

    Poor Peyton. He may have to settle for 23 bedrooms instead of 26.

  30. It’s very simple–

    The folks who make more than Manning or Brady do so because they operate in a free market. Pacquio can play Showtime off HBO. Kevin Harvick can play Penske off Hendrick. The NFL is a monopoly so where can Manning gain any leverage? Threatening to play for the Ottawa Rough Riders?

    The NFL operates a socialist business model where revenues are shared, payrolls are capped, and “competitive balance” concerns outweigh all other issues.

    It’s also worth noting that baseball and NBA contracts (ie 5 years for 20 million) are guaranteed while all NFL contracts (ie 5 years for 20 million) are PR scams where the player is actually guaranteed zero dollars should he be cut.

  31. The reason the NFL is the most popular sport in America is specifically that Manning makes less. It’s not that Americans would resent Manning for making more (maybe a little but not the point) but that by keeping salary lower it allows for more parity and a greater chance for every team to compete. If they get a star they can actually hold onto them (see Jags and MJD). League Think died long ago but its what makes the NFL so great. You go free agency MLB style and people will get real tired of watching the Cowboys, Giants and Jets compete for the Super Bowl every year

  32. The point of Mike’s article is lost on many of the dimwits who post on this site. The top 10% of the athletes in any sport are equivalent to celebrity and entertainment personnel. They represent the face of the franchise more than the owners do. They put fannies in the seats. They are insured as assets as much as the stadiums they play in. If the Colts franchise is worth $911M, what should the franchise QB be paid? How much has the value of the Colts franchise appreciated since Manning has played there? Does he share directly in any of that appreciation? No. His salary is a small piece of the overall finanacial wealth he has brought to the Colts.

    This is also true for any franchise QB.

  33. Ampats:

    “Funny thing is that everyone assumes Peyton Manning is a 100% lock to return to the Colts. Rumors have floated about free agency, no NFL draft and other possible changes with a new CBA. What happens if the franchise tag changes and he becomes a true free agent? What would prevent a Daniel Snyder from signing him under a new CBA?”

    I’ll take “the obvious” for $500 Alex: What is Dan Snyder.

    See e.g. Eli’s not going to San Diego (a lovely town, by the way).

  34. First of all it does not matter if A-Rod plays more games. The NFL generates significantly more money than MLB. MLB players are not taking hits by 6-5 250 lb’s. If you are responsible for generating more money you should get paid more. This is how capitalism works.

  35. I’m getting tired of this! Maybe the POOR guy should have learned to swing a bat, drive a car, shoot some hoops or take a punch! Think of this, maybe, just maybe he should have to go out and get a real job that pays (if your lucky) between $25,000 – $100,000 a year like the rest of the United States! I don’t feel one bit sorry for any of these saps!!

  36. Not only does Manning play less games, he also plays maybe half of the game. He’s not actually playing a full 60 minutes either. Majority of that clock time is run off. Like someone posted earlier, there’s maybe 11 minutes of total action going on. Never mind that on a little less than half of the time he’s in there, he’s doing nothing more than handing the ball off to someone else.

  37. There are 22 starting players on a football team. They play 16 games.
    There are 9 starting players on a baseball team. They play 162 games.
    There are 5 starting players on a basketball team. They play 82 games.

  38. like clockwork, another bleeding heart story of how the owners are screwing the players….good god.

  39. Just think, without the salary cap you might see the same three teams in every superbowl for a whole decade and the bad teams would be so bad they wouldn’t win a single game. Thank gosh neither of those things happened or the NFL would be unwatchable.

  40. If the players want 50 pct of the revenue? then players should also share 50 pct of the cost……how many pro players would be in favor of that?

  41. Not counting food/stadium services Ferrari probably employs more people in their F1 program than a lot of NFL teams. Their operating budget is on the order of a $1 billion a season. It makes sense for them to have the best drivers to pilot their rides.

  42. @thetruuf, thank you for your service Sir, as a follow veteran I understand the Sacrifices you make. I thank you for doing what you do. You and all veterans are in my prayers

  43. All sports players are paid WAY too much. But Manning deserves his. He has proven he’s worth it. The others, not so much!

    You can discount the amount paid to baseball and basketball players because the play so damned many games that they don’t mean anything.

  44. If you think football players are overpaid, just look at the death statistics for former football players. So many guys die in their late 40’s and 50’s or have bad medical complications, dementia, etc. The game is extremely violent, especially in the trenches, and the practices are tough. Their practices aren’t BP, grounders, or a simple shoot around…ever played high school football? Don’t give me the crap about guns or grocery bags as their alternative, so sick of that BS.

    Not saying they should be the highest paid players, or should get more than they are getting now, but how about they get a little love in here as we know what the game is about.

  45. MLB DESTROYS the NFL when it comes to making revenue. I love some of you morons that think the NFL makes more than MLB. Check out the Yankees and Red Sox television deals and then take your jaws of the ground. The guy that wrote MLB is “broke” compared to the NFL, welcome to McDonalds can I help you?

  46. Edgerinn –

    I don’t care if it is the same teams, that would be called the 80’s and 90’s when the NFC dominated football and, outside of the 49ers, the NFC BEast dominated. As a Redskins fan I can’t say I care.

    As for all comparing games played to argue why A-Rod gets paid more, doesn’t Pacquiao fight like once or twice a year maximum?

    Pacquiao is actually the better comparison; how much value do you bring to the table. If NFL games were PPV, the Colts would make a killing with Manning, w/out Manning it would look like the first roughly 15 to 20 years in Indy when most games were blacked out. This value is how he should be paid, not how many games. That is what we call Capitalism, which is non-existent in the NFL except for the Owners other business dealings in the name of the Team.

  47. (mjdkid100 says:
    Talk to me when the NFL figures out how to get 3+ Million people through the gates over the course of a year as the top 8 teams in baseball did last year.)

    And how exactly do you expect any sport to cram 187 thousand fans in per game? 3 million in a year is only around 19,000 fans per game at 162 games.

  48. If Gov’t is going to make hard cuts, it better not be to education. I swear, this site proves that Americans are getting dumber by the minute.

    The prevailing argument is that there are more games in baseball, therefore baseball players should get more. Really genuises??? Then how do you reconcile that Pacquiao gets $32M for 30 minutes of fighting???????

  49. I can’t believe what I am reading here…. I think football players deserve more money than any other paid athlete because they bring in the most money.

    Baseball- even though players play 162- the total revenue it brings in is about 6 billion. The NFL BRINGS IN 9 BILLION!!! The league brings in the most money period. And does anyone really want to argue that Peyton Manning doesnt work at his craft year round??

    Manny Pac might fight one or two fights a year- i dont begrudge him his 30 some million.

    But then there are people here who are just fine with a guy like jed york- doing nothing but being born- gettings 100 million dollars worth of profit every year???

    You people are absolutely nuts-

  50. And JV- you should do more research- MLB almost makes half as much as the NFL- and the owners don’t make near as much profit than the NFL.

    Out of all professional sports- football owners make the most- that is a fact.

  51. You people make it sound like Peyton is complaining about being underpaid…THAT HAS NOT AND NEVER WILL HAPPEN!! Your anger is misguided, just like this pointless article

  52. Anybody who discredits baseball and thinks it’s the easiest sport to play has never truly played baseball at a highly competitive level. Little League does not count. There are a lot of ignorant people browsing this website.

  53. Another point that needs to be made, it should not be a football versus other sports argument. Just because football distributes their total wealth differently and more evenly among teams and players should not count against the league.

    A-Rod, who plays for the Yankees after putting the Rangers in financial trouble, moved to the one franchise that can afford him. A-Rod is one of 8 starting fielders with another 4-5 pitchers that get paid for the Yankees. That is, 13 players that get paid well. The Yankees generated $441 million in revenue in 2010. The Colts generated $248 million.

    Do you really think it is odd that the highest paid player on a team that made almost $200 million more in a season is willing to pay their star $10 million more than the lower revenue generating team?

    Really? The Yankees operate on a bankroll all their own. They beat the next highest revenue generating team in MLB by $173 million in 2010. I am shocked they can overpay.

    As for boxers, they do not share their money with other boxers. For every millionaire, there are thousands of boxers that have work a real job while they train just to eat. The NFL spreads the wealth differently.

    This lawsuit should be called what it is, the rich wanting to get richer…..and it is the upper end players that are rich.

    Does anyone realize that Peyton Manning made more in salary in 2010 than Forbes states some NFL teams made in profit? The NFL’s model works.

  54. Hmmm…Seems to me that football was the career path they chose. Not basketball or Nascar. So now they have to settle for just a few million. Wish I knew what it was like to just make a few million. I would have no need to ask for more money that’s for sure. If they were smart then they would take one of their few millions and invest to get more money. I have found a way to survive off my few thousands all these years. If just one of them would give me $100k to invest for them I could make my annual income in profit in about 1 year. Without having to work. But they spend S100k on dinner alone. Not me, I spend S150 at the grocery store and eat good for a couple weeks.

  55. Hasn’t Manning already experienced the issue of his team spending so much money on him and his receivers there was little money for the rest of the team? And he wants more? (shaking head)

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