For years, the world of football has been a rather interesting sport to watch. The pace of play, the skill involved and the fact it revolves around technical skill over physicality ensures it’s seen as the sport of the people. However, football has been a changing sport ever since the 1960s. As the sport became more professionalized, the standards that players were expected to live up to would change.
This has continued to be the case. The change for football has mainly come from the fact that it has adjusted so much from who puts the money in. In the past, a football club was hugely dependent on the kind of money that it could bring in from its own fans. Gate receipt money and prize money was more or less all that mattered. It kept football relatively competitive across the globe, with most leagues beginning to become quite open and with various winners of trophies.
However, the dawn of the 1960s brought with it the reality of European football. Clubs began to take on the best from their rival nations. This brought more interest into the sport from the private sector and, thus more money. Before too long, football was awash with money: it became a sport all about cash.
Clubs began wearing sponsors on their shirts, and began having their kits manufactured by major brands. The likes of Adidas, Nike and Puma became household names in the sporting world. Major companies from all across the world who you would never hear of became synonymous with some of the most popular sporting clubs on the planet.
This rise in money and investment, then, was brought to the players: in return, though, the demands of the game started to grow.
How money changed football into two sports
Football in 2019, then, can be looked at in two different ways. You have the football that you watch on the TV, the home of people who bring in the best part of an average monthly wage in an hour. You watch people who are fitter than just about anyone else on the planet, and more skilled, take part in a match.
The level of fitness on show is incredible. That comes from the players determining to be as fit as they can to help reward themselves. The fitter and stronger you are physically, allied to technical and tactical skill, the more likely you are to reach a higher level. The greater the level that you play, the more likely you are to earn more money.
The money that we see footballers earning on TV – as well as their physique and the kind of football being played – is totally different to ‘normal’ football. Take a stroll to the local lower league football near you, and it does indeed look like a whole new sport
The transformation is incredible, and played a role in the reconfiguration of the entire sport into what feels like two separate entities.
How much money is in the modern game then?
At the very top? Billions. Clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and FC Barcelona have turnovers in the hundreds of millions. This is also seen in the kind of money that they pay out to their footballers. The highest paid players in the world all play for the major clubs, as well as new money clubs such as Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
They money in the modern game can be extremely hard to follow along with, and the numbers can feel very much out of line with the sport. For most of the clubs paying these fees, though, the actual cost of their tickets and the like justifies the fee. When you can get away with charging upwards of $50 – sometimes far in excess – for a football match, the salary of the players becomes more in-fitting with the crowd.
For example, Messi makes around $37 every ten seconds. For most people, that is the equivalent of – if they are lucky – three hours work. Many times it’s much more than that. This means that Messi, in around 2 minutes and 30 seconds, will have brought in more than $500. Think how hard you would need to work to earn that.
In a single hour, then, Messi will bring in around $12,636 according to Findbettingsites.co.uk. In a match, then, Messi would walk off after around 90 minutes with the best part of $18,000 earned. In a single month, then, he brings in around a whopping $9.1m.
These figures only show just how much money is in the modern game of football. Storied football clubs across smaller leagues globally often go bust for sums a fraction of what Messi would earn in a month.
Is football broken with money?
In many ways, it is. Part of the break, though, stems from the change in the clientele of a football match. In the past, fans of lower income backgrounds simply could not afford those kind of fees. To them, though, the club was an identity of their culture and their community – and the players were the same. Fans could cheer them on with immense passion and pride, cheering on their own.
Is that really so easy when a multi-million international signs for your club for a fee that end homelessness in your city? Of course not. Many fans who can afford to pay the price of the modern football ticket, though, will turn up to the game with the same mind-set as going to the theatre: entertain me.
The money involved in football has eroded some of the major facets of being a football fan. The endless love for players is now tied in correlation to both your own financial situation and their own. Once we used to watch our local community clubs pay affordable wages to their players. Now, we correlate how happy we are with a signing based on how many millions they pull in – not how much effort they put out.
Football has a lot of problems, and among its largest problems is a bankrupt relationship with money. The fact a player can bring in what most would deme a strong weekly wage in less than a half of football is damning.