Interesting post from Track and field athletes association by Jack Wickens! I think it is pretty accurate. As an athlete, I know that most track and field athletes have to have other sources of income. It is amazing the passion that most of the people have for the sport. You have to be passionate to make so little but still work so hard! Link and blog post below!
How Much Money do Track and Field Athletes Actually Make?
Open up your local newspaper or do a web search and you can easily view the income levels of top professional athletes in baseball, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, etc. Try to find similar data for track & field athletes and you’ll pretty much come up empty.
There are many things that cause this lack of public transparency about professional track & field athlete earnings – not the least of which is that the primary source of this income (shoe company sponsors) is negotiated privately with each individual athlete/agent, and the contracts often contain performance trigger points and bonus clauses that add unpredictability to the contract value. Also, sources that are visible, like prize money, are generally too small to generate much public attention.
This “secrecy” may be an inevitable element of our athlete’s “independent contractor” status but in some ways it has not helped advance the sport, has not helped attract young athletes, and has not helped the negotiating leverage of our athletes.
The athlete survey that was conducted at last month’s National Championship meet revealed that the study that the USATF Foundation released a couple years ago is still accurate. The survey confirmed the overall steep pyramid of income opportunities, with over 50% of top ten ranked athletes earning less than $15,000 from the sport, as well as the wide variations between elite athletes in different events. Below is the re-release of the results of the earlier study (the full report is available HERE), along with graphs drawn from the recent survey data.
USA PROFESSIONAL TRACK & FIELD
- Typical Agent fees are 15%; $’s shown are pre-tax
- Dollar amounts below reflect total of sponsorship contracts and bonuses, prize money, grants, and stipends. No estimated value is included for part-time job income, career support, health insurance or injury support services, training center services, or tuition grants.