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Friday, February 12, 2010

Highest paid international athletes

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International Sports Examiner | Marv Dumon

Within the past 25 years, athletic competition at the highest levels have grown to become immensely lucrative as a profession. Thousands of hours spent in extremely rigorous training yield peak results in games, which in turn yield high dollars.

This modern reality stands in contrast to simpler days of antiquity, when many of the first Greek competitors secured sports performance relying on more natural prowess and ability. They would marvel at the daily, professionalized regimen of today's marketplace athletes.

The modern sports competitor not only exacts superior results on the field, he must maintain a regulated routine: supervised intake of vitamins, oxygen treatment, legal (and sometimes banned) performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), special diets and treatments. On and on. Then you have the product endorsements, interviews, family functions, awards dinners . . .
A Global Entity >

Today's athlete is not merely "just an individual," per se. He has transformed into a monarchical organization, attended to by security personnel, butlers, personal assistants, legal counsel, nutritionists, doctors, trainers, strength coaches, managers, and publicists. Gone are the human generalists. The specialists who "tunes up" the athlete reflect modern society's segmentation of the populace into thousands of categorized vocations. Ever heard of a zoo dentist? That's an actual job.

The peak-performing sports uber man is a brand. For some, he is a god. That is not a statement of sacrilege. In some ways, sports icons have positioned out religious figures for man's share of the mind and heart. Can you name a basketball player or boxer more popular than the Pope? I can. Several of them.

Sports, in a collective sense, has replaced something else. War. The battle is in the tennis and volleyball courts of the world. Not in Waterloo or Pearl Harbor or Gettysburg.

What's your point Dumon?


What made the exponential jump in earnings from the past 25 years is globalization and the awesome emergence of the conglomerate media.

Before, the nexus of power resided in:

1. the Church
2. the State
3. and the Immediate Rulers of your particular kingdom
4. Those who possessed indespensible goods (water, hunting tools, etc.)

Now, the nexus of power resides in:

1. the Media
2. the State
3. the Employer
4. the Spouse - maybe

ESPN, and its multitudes of affiliates and partnerships, as well as, its smaller competitors, have pried open previously localized markets. They have this capability - to just open up entire nations - to the ways of MTV. Imagine Iran's leaders, a generation from now, speaking in this tongue: "Dude, I gotta work today? Screw that." The media brainwashes. It may not intend to all the time, but its grip on the mind took over what was previously held by the Church. (See list.)

Brazil, India, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, these markets (and their best athletes) are thrown into the mix. That hodge podge lies in the center of a digital planetary arena. A virtual bowl where the absolute best from each region compete. The best of the best. The elite of the elite. The world's cream of the crop. Sounds like a stolen thought from Top Gun.

A population of six billion people can now access the top 30 most popular sports virtually 24 hours a day. Television conveys the prioritized coverage. The internet disseminates information from a democratized media web. Sports becomes the conduit from which multi-billion dollar products and services companies extend their offerings in a hyper-competitive marketplace. Back to the purpose of the article.


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