Why do we pay athletes?

TL;DR because fans and advertisers pay money and the players only make around half of it. There’s no where else for the money to go

Umm where else would the money go? Teams make money from advertisements, ticket sales and jerseys and the like.

Does the team owner keep all that money? Why would the athletes want to play if they didn’t make any money?

Athletes make money because people pay to go to games and buy jerseys and advertisers pay because millions of people watch. Just like any other tv show.

Think of them like actors. Without a script or plot line. Who just play a game while being filmed. And working every day, traveling constantly for work and at risk of a career ending injury every time they do their job, of which they must put in 100% every second they’re on the ice or the media and their coaches will rip them to shreds.

But besides all that, same premise as an actor. The show (game) makes money, the people who star in the show (game) make money.

I don’t understand people who say that they shouldn’t be paid or should be paid a lot less. Where should the money go? The government? Why should they be taxed higher than any other job in their salary range? Should the owners keep all the money? Well that just doesn’t seem fair, they may be paying for it but they aren’t really working for it.

Could you imagine the uproar if this happened to any other job? Putting a limit on the amount they’re allowed to make and having the top dogs in the company make more or the government taxing them exponentially higher than others in their tax bracket? Just because some people don’t like their job.

Doesn’t make much sense.

Because people will pay to watch other people compete. As a result, entrepreneurs throughout history have designed competitions for the amusement of spectators. Athletes are required for the competitions to take place and they require payment for their services.

Over time, spectators become emotionally attached to some types of competitions and more money flows to the entrepreneurs behind them. Some of that money flows to the athletes competing in the game…the amount depends on a number of factors that really boil down to how easily an athlete can be replaced by another athlete with no loss in income. In some sports, athletes form unions in order to have more negotiating power. In those cases, they generally are able to get paid a larger percentage of total revenues they they could otherwise.

Sports are popular, popularity is demand, and demand generates a price for the supply. In this case, the supply is athletes. When sports are shown or broadcasted, payment must be dealt out to the workers responsible in making the product possible. Since they are the star of the show, athletes are the most important workers. It is only logical that they would be paid.

An interesting question. NBA players love to play basketball. If you ask Lebron James or Russell Westbrook to play for your team for free they would play with 100% effort. But that is not why they are paid so much. They are paid so much so that they are committed to play for the paying team. It is a contract to perform and to win the game without any excuse.