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.
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 22, 2022).