Bureau of Labor Statistics

Wages in sports all over the ballpark

March 01, 2001

Athletes, coaches, sports officials and related workers held nearly 52,000 jobs in 1998. Their earnings ranged from a small, per-game fee to millions of dollars per season.

Annual earnings of athletes, coaches, sports officials, and related workers, upper limits of quartiles and selected deciles, 1998
[Chart data—TXT]

While elite professional athletes and coaches might command salaries at the six-figure level, the earnings of the vast majority in sports are much more modest. Median annual earnings of sports professionals were $22,200 in 1998. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $11,900.

Sports and physical training instructors are an example of sports professionals with earnings well below those of professional athletes. In 1998, median hourly earnings of such instructors were about $11 and 90 percent of them earned less than $23 per hour.

These data are a product of the Occupational Employment Statistics program. Sports professionals include athletes; coaches and instructors; sports officials such as umpires and referees; and athletic trainers and scouts. For additional information, see "When the job's a game: Athletes, coaches, sports officials and related workers," by Henry Kasper in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Spring 2001 edition. Note about the chart: deciles divide the dataset into 10 equal-size groups and quartiles divide the dataset into 4 equal-size groups.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Wages in sports all over the ballpark at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2001/feb/wk4/art04.htm (visited January 16, 2022).


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