BIG BUCKS In Sports

The top earners in each league (above) seldom reflect the best-managed franchises or win-loss records
July 13, 2008

ALEX RODRIGUEZ $28MILLION New York Yankees

JASON GIAMBI $23.4MILLION New York Yankees

KEVIN GARNETT $23.8MILLION Boston Celtics

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL$21 MILLION Phoenix Suns

JULIUS PEPPERS$14.1 MILLION Carolina Panthers

CARSON PALMER $13.5MILLION Cincinnati Bengals

SCOTT GOMEZ $10MILLION New York Rangers

DANIEL BRIÈRE $10MILLION Philadelphia Flyers

LIFE HAS A SALARYCAP. EVERYONE DECIDES EVERY DAY HOW MUCH money to spend and on what. Fuel yourcar? Cool your home? Take in a game at the ballpark? ¬∂ The choices teams makeare on a grander scale, but most are constrained by league-imposed spendinglimits—others by revenue inequities or just plain parsimony. In their mostrecently completed seasons the NFL and Major League Baseball set attendancerecords for the sixth and fourth seasons in a row, respectively, but thefalling economy is pressuring individuals and corporations to reexamine theirexpenses. With that in mind, SI looked at how teams chose to spend theirpayroll dollars in 2007--08. Smart management—financial and otherwise—is whatmakes teams successful, but if fans and corporations decide they can no longerafford those tickets and skyboxes, disciplined spending will become even moreimportant to the health of a franchise. Sound familiar?

[This entire article consists of complex diagrams. Please see hardcopy ofmagazine or PDF.]

Baseball

It's no surprisethat the stingy Marlins and the canny Rays are the most efficient teams; theshocker is that one, Tampa Bay, has the game's best record

GOOD FORTUNE$85M

That's how much(over five years) the Tigers gave 2007 AL batting champ Magglio Ordonez whenthey signed him as a free agent in 2005.

CREDIT IS DUE
Their much admired front office has kept the Braves consistently competitiveand efficient—though they're paying $16 million this year to perpetuallysore-armed Mike Hampton.

AVERAGE SALARY BYPOSITION
Designated hitters command the heftiest salaries because they tend to belong-tenured veterans—like Jason Giambi ($23.4 million) and Jim Thome—with ahistory of putting up big stats.

Go Figure

THE SI FORMULA,which evaluates a team's payroll and regular-season success, essentiallydetermines how much a team spent on each victory; the higher the bar, the morea win cost. Borrowing from Baseball Prospectus's formula for Marginal Wins, itwas assumed that even a team composed solely of players making the minimumwould not lose every game. So the graph for baseball and each sport thatfollows reflects this equation: (team payroll - (roster size √ó minimum salary))√∑ ((team winning percentage - alltime worst winning percentage) √ó gamesplayed).

CHEAP TRICKS
Mike Jacobs, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu, who already have acombined 77 homers, will make a total of $1.75 million in '08—15.5% of whatformer teammate Miguel Cabrera now gets from the Tigers.

[The followingdescriptive text appears within a diagram. Please see hardcopy of magazine orPDF.]

$1M $2M $3M $4M $5M$6M $7M

DESIGNATEDHITTER

FIRST BASEMAN

THIRD BASEMAN

OUTFIELDER

SHORTSTOP

PITCHER

SECOND BASEMAN

CATCHER

Jim Thome $15.7million

BIG PICTURE
George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees for $10 million in 1973, and the team isnow worth an estimated $1.3 billion, so son Hank doesn't seem too concernedabout fiscal restraint.

STEAL CITY
At PNC Park, a 21-ounce beer costs $4.50; even better, the Pirates joined theRays as the only teams not to raise ticket prices in '08.

AVERAGE SALARY BYNATIONALITY
At $10 million each, shortstops Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria makeColombia the per capita salary leader.

[The followingdescriptive text appears within a diagram. Please see hardcopy of magazine orPDF.]

$2 M $4 M $6 M $8 M$10 M

Australia

Canada

Colombia

Cuba

Curaçao

DominicanRepublic

Japan

Mexico

Netherlands

Panama

Puerto Rico

South Korea

Taiwan

United States

U.S. VirginIslands

Venezuela

JAPAN's IchiroSuzuki $17.1 million

UNDERWATER
Recently fired G.M. Bill Bavasi's worst sin was signing free-agent firstbaseman Richie Sexson to a four-year deal in December 2004. Sexson, who has a.221 average after hitting .205 last year, will earn $15.5 million in '08. Only17 players make more.

THE RAYS WAY
The team's philosophy: Build around young (read: cheap), skilled players, like23-year-old centerfielder B.J. Upton ($412,100 in '08).

DIVIDED THEYSTAND
The Nationals spend the biggest share on hitters, to little effect; the WhiteSox and the A's get their mound money's worth.

TEAM % on O GS* rank % on D GA† rank
New York Rangers 67.99 25 32.01 4
Columbus Blue Jackets 67.93 29 32.07 T-8
Carolina Hurricanes 67.82 5 32.18 25
St. Louis Blues 65.69 26 34.31 21
Tampa Bay Lightning 65.46 16 34.54 T-29
Nashville Predators 65.27 12 34.73 T-15
Atlanta Thrashers 63.65 T-22 36.35 T-29
New Jersey Devils 62.03 27 37.97 5
Minnesota Wild 61.40 T-17 38.60 T-8
New York Islanders 60.82 30 39.18 23
Philadelphia Flyers 60.04 6 39.96 T-18
Boston Bruins 59.51 24 40.49 11
Los Angeles Kings 58.82 T-13 41.18 28
Colorado Avalanche 57.52 15 42.48 T-12
Chicago Blackhawks 57.21 10 42.79 20
Edmonton Oilers 57.17 T-17 42.83 26
Dallas Stars 56.33 9 43.67 6
Calgary Flames 56.32 T-13 43.68 T-15
Washington Capitals 55.09 8 44.91 T-18
San Jose Sharks 54.97 19 45.03 3
Florida Panthers 53.91 20 46.09 14
Pittsburgh Penguins 53.82 7 46.18 10
Vancouver Canucks 53.74 T-22 46.26 7
Montreal Canadiens 53.55 2 46.45 T-12
Toronto Maple Leafs 53.19 11 46.81 27
Buffalo Sabres 52.52 4 47.48 22
Ottawa Senators 51.45 1 48.55 24
Detroit Red Wings 47.18 3 52.82 1
Phoenix Coyotes 43.97 21 56.03 17
Anaheim Ducks 40.00 28 60.00 2

* Goals scored
† Goals allowed

Fan PriceIndex

When SI comparedthe average cost of attending a game with the cost of living, Texas cities werethe priciest, Anaheim the most reasonable

Check theIndex

AVERAGING WHAT ITcosts a family of four* to attend an NFL, NBA, NHL or major league baseballgame, SI came up with a number for every city that has a team in at least oneof those leagues. This number was compared with the cost-of-living index forthat city during the first quarter of 2008. (An index rating below 1.00 for acity indicates that the Fan Cost Index is lower than the cost of living there;an index rating above 1.00 means the Fan Cost Index is higher.) Was the priceof being a fan exceeding the cost of living? In Texas it was. Was it cheaper togo to a game than to do most other things in town? In California it was.

MIAMI NICE
Relative to other costs in South Florida, taking in a Marlins or a Panthersgame (or suffering through a Dolphins or a Heat game) is a pretty gooddeal.

Index Rating.87

BEST DEAL
The rating of .54 shows how the cost of going to a game in Anaheim compareswith the cost of living in Orange County. Though the cost of living is 60%higher in Anaheim than in San Antonio, for example, the cost of going to anAngels or a Ducks game is less than the cost of going to a Spurs game.

Index Rating.54

SWINGING IT
The cost of living in Salt Lake City is 1.3% below the national average, butthe cost of going to a Jazz game—the only major pro team in town—is 16% lessthan the NBA average.

Index Rating:.85

WORST DEAL
The cost of going to a Spurs game is way up there compared with the cost ofliving in San Antonio in the first quarter of 2008. Texas is home to eightmajor professional teams—San Antonio, Houston and Dallas ranked first, secondand third highest, respectively, in SI's city calculations.

Index Rating1.15

FEEDING DEMAND
How does the cost of going to a Packers game compare with the cost-of-livingindex in Green Bay? What price will this market—the highest-ranked city outsideof Texas—bear? Almost anything.

Index Rating1.05

DUE NORTH
It has been awhile since any of the four teams in the Twin Cities has playedfor a title (the Twins and the North Stars, in 1991), but at least the cost ofgoing to a game there is well below league averages.

Index Rating:.88

BEAR MARKET
Memphis has the lowest cost-of-living index of any city with a major pro sportsfranchise. The cost of going to a Grizzlies game is even lower.

Index Rating:.91

20 BEST AND WORSTTEAMS

If you're a teamowner looking for a club to use as a fiscal model, turn your attention toFlorida—where the most, and least, efficient examples operate.

MOST EFFICIENT

Florida Marlins(MLB)

Tampa Bay Rays(MLB)

Oakland Athletics(MLB)

New EnglandPatriots (NFL)

Minnesota Twins(MLB)

Boston Celtics(NBA)

Orlando Magic(NBA)

New OrleansHornets (NBA)

Utah Jazz(NBA)

Detroit Pistons(NBA)

Green Bay Packers(NFL)

Houston Rockets(NBA)

San Antonio Spurs(NBA)

Dallas Cowboys(NFL)

Indianapolis Colts(NFL)

Golden StateWarriors (NBA)

Los Angeles Lakers(NBA)

Phoenix Suns(NBA)

Pittsburgh Pirates(MLB)

Tennessee Titans(NFL)

LEASTEFFICIENT

Miami Dolphins(NFL)

Miami Heat(NBA)

New York Knicks(NBA)

Seattle Mariners(MLB)

New York Yankees(MLB)

SeattleSuperSonics (NBA)

MinnesotaTimberwolves (NBA)

New York Mets(MLB)

Detroit Tigers(MLB)

Los AngelesClippers (NBA)

PhiladelphiaFlyers (NHL)

Baltimore Ravens(NFL)

Los AngelesDodgers (MLB)

Memphis Grizzlies(NBA)

Tampa BayLightning (NHL)

Los Angeles Kings(NHL)

San Diego Padres(MLB)

San Francisco49ers (NFL)

Milwaukee Bucks(NBA)

Atlanta Braves(MLB)

ON THE TOWN
The cost-of-living index for New York City is 219% of the national average, sotaking in a game there is a relative bargain: Gotham was fourth lowest in therankings.

Index Rating.57

*SI used the FanCost Index, as calculated by Team Marketing Report, to determine the cost ofgoing to a game. It includes four average-price tickets, two beers, four softdrinks, four hot dogs, parking, two game programs and two souvenir caps.

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IN THE MONEY

Check out SI.com's fifth annual ranking of thehighest-paid athletes in the world, and a photo gallery of future topearners.

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PHOTODAMIAN STROHMEYER PHOTOROB CARR/AP TWO PHOTOSJOHN W. MCDONOUGH PHOTODAVID DUROCHIK/SPORTPICS PHOTOTHOMAS E. WITTE TWO PHOTOSLOU CAPOZZOLA PHOTODAVID J. PHILLIP/AP (HAMPTON) PHOTOWILFREDO LEE/AP (UGGLA) PHOTOTANNEN MAURY/EPA (THOME) PHOTOROULIER/TURIOT/PHOTOCUISINE/CORBIS (BEER) PHOTOGREG ASHMAN/CAL SPORT MEDIA (DUCHSCHERER) PHOTOGEORGE HOLLAND/CAL SPORT MEDIA (SUZUKI) PHOTOMARK GOLDMAN/ICON SMI (GARZA) PHOTOJOE MURPHY/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (WALLACE) PHOTORON HOSKINS/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (DUNLEAVY) PHOTOBROCK WILLIAMS-SMITH/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (JEFFERSON) PHOTOAL BELLO/GETTY IMAGES (CARTER) PHOTOJEFF ZELEVANSKY/ICON SMI (CURRY) PHOTOJESSE D. GARRABRANT/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (DALEMBERT) PHOTOMELISSA MAJCHRZAK/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (BOOZER) PHOTOMANNY MILLAN (YAO) PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (NOWITZKI) PHOTOGREG NELSON (KIRILENKO) PHOTOROULIER/TURIOT/PHOTOCUISINE/CORBIS (BEER) PHOTOPETER READ MILLER (ROMO) PHOTOSIMON BRUTY (MANNING) PHOTOBOB ROSATO (MOSS) PHOTOROULIER/TURIOT/PHOTOCUISINE/CORBIS (BEER) PHOTOROBERT BECK (CLEMENTS) PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO (PERRY) PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO (ARNOTT) PHOTODAVID E. KLUTHO (KARIYA) PHOTOROULIER/TURIOT/PHOTOCUISINE/CORBIS (BEER) PHOTODAMIAN STROHMEYER (VANEK) PHOTOLOU CAPOZZOLA (ZUBRUS) PHOTOLOU CAPOZZOLA (CROSBY) FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS TWELVE PHOTOS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)