25 March, 2017

With the 2003 purchase of Chelsea, Roman Abramovich changed the finances in the English Premier League forever. He presided over a massive increase in spending that saw players switching teams for massively inflated fees and on wages that had never been seen before. This inflation has continued with the purchase of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour in 2008. This has now culminated in the Chinese Super League spending what is seen as obscene amounts of money for players and paying wages in excess of £300,000 per week.

It’s not just football that has seen massive increases in investment, after their exploits at the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2012 London Olympics cycling has had millions of pounds invested into it to create a sustainable and successful team. This has also been apparent in boxing in recent times, a resurgence of interest and rivalries along with up-and-comer Anthony Joshua has seen millions spent and invested in the sport. Cricket, one of the oldest sports played in the world, hasn’t been as lucky.

Whilst talking about the kind of figures that are being invested in football, boxing and cycling it’s probably fair to say one of the reasons for this has been a resurgence of interest and this is something cricket is currently lacking but it’s a case of when and not if this historic sport can continue to be played on the money that is currently going through it. 

Yorkshire won the County Cricket Championship in 2016 and for their efforts were awarded with £158,100 in prize money. If you compare this to the amount that Leicester City FC were awarded for winning the Premier League last season at £24.8 million you begin to see the absolute disparity in the sports. The amount Yorkshire were awarded accounts for around 0.5% of the figure Leicester got. To put this into further context, on the back of their title winning season Jamie Vardy and Ryiad Mahrez were worth awarded contracts with weekly wages in excess of £100,000 per week, together that’s much more than Yorkshire Country Cricket receive per year.

As stated previously, this could be mainly due to public interest with the biggest football match of the season for fans; Manchester United Vs Liverpool drawing in an average of 2.8 million viewers. The highest watched cricket matches can only account for 300-400,000. This is reflected in the television revenue each team receives with most Premier League football teams receiving over £20 million against cricket teams earning around £1 million.

Wages are another place where County Cricket falls down against the weight of the Premier League. Professional cricket players for County Cricket teams usually earn around £40,000-£50,000 per year from their clubs. In the world of the Premier League even average players can earn upwards of £50,000 per week. The average wage in the Premier League stands at a little over £37,000 per week and the highest paid is reportedly Wayne Rooney on over £300,000 per week.

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