The San Francisco Giants won the World Series, you might be shocked to recall. It is true, they totally did. As much as fans like to think players take the field and give it their all for the good of the game and America and the fine city of ________, there is actually a lot of money in professional sports.
Players compete for more than the intrinsic value of a win. They get paid more when their team does well. It is science. Or accounting. Either way, all the ticket receipts are counted and the playoff shares are in: all members of San Francisco Giants just scooped a cheque for a cool $377,002.64.
When you compare that figure to the annual salary of a Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum, it looks a little bit like small potatoes. Lincecum made $19 million in 2012 so a bonus of less than $400K amounts to little more than a 2% holiday bonus. A week’s pay, he could not believe he just typed.
— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) November 26, 2012
But if you are Brandon Belt or Brandon Crawford, well shit, you just earned a bonus worth 80% of your total annual income, thank you very much. Which, unless I’m mistaken, will do quite nicely.
Richard Durrett of ESPN has the full breakdown, putting the total playoff pool for all teams over $65 million bucks. That’s a lot of money. For playing just a single extra game in the post-season, each Ranger who earns a full share gets just under $17K (before Uncle Sam takes his bite.) Hardball Talk has the full team-by-team breakdown.
As with Lincecum and any of the top players in the game, this money pales in comparison to the riches available in long-term contracts or achievement at the highest level. Contracts reward long-standing achievement while playoff shares reward those who didn’t even pick up a bat in the post-season. Playoff shares also go to support staff such as trainers and video coordinators, a terrific way of lining the pockets of those who make all the winning and on field celebrating possible.
Hat tip to the great David Brown.