The Salary of a Pro Lacrosse Player: Past, Present, and Future By: Aidan Clark

Being a professional athlete is amazing! You get to play sports for a living and don't have to worry about deadlines or writing reports. You get paid a lot of money even if you don't win games. But, what if I told you if you're a professional lacrosse player that's not the case.

Why do lacrosse players get paid so little and will it ever change?

Only time will tell the answer. One of the most newly, fastest growing sports is actually the oldest. Although the game of lacrosse was created around the 1500s, the sport is just starting to catch on in the past 5-10 years and the sport is growing rapidly, but there still just aren't enough people who want to watch professional lacrosse games. There are plenty of lacrosse players who love the game, but is that really enough? For example 4.2% of kids in the US play football, that's 95.8% that don't. These kids don't play football but 64% of Americans still cheer for their team every Sunday. Why is that not the case for lacrosse? It may have to do with the amount of people in city and urban areas that don't know about the sport. The popularity is the biggest reason the players salaries are so low, but it may also be the fact that a lot of the players don't mind that they're salaries are so low and simply play because they love the game and want to play as much as they can outside of their day jobs; which most of the players have.

(Image left to right) Rob Pannell, Kyle Harrison, Paul Rabil

There are only a select few players who make a living solely playing the sport. One of them being Paul Rabil. Though, even Rabil has to run a website and training program, as well as run multiple clinics, camps, and training sessions which all have fees. A big part of his success is the deal he has signed with Warrior who have made a complete “Rabil” line. Only two other players have deals like this giving them their own signature gear, those being Rob Pannell and Kyle Harrison. While Pannell’s line has had much success with Brine, Harrison’s has not and the gear is now sold for very cheap. But only two out of all of the MLL players with big endorsement deals that's not much, and even those players need to do things outside of games to get more income.

John Tavares(lacrosse player above) uncle of John Tavares (hockey player in background)

According to nllchatter.com, “If longtime Bandit John Tavares had made the current league maximum salary for a franchise player (about $34,000) for each of his 22 seasons, that would come to a little less than $750,000 over his entire career. Since the max salary hasn’t been that high the entire time, and Tavares hasn’t made the maximum every year, his actual career total would be much less. His nephew John Tavares, the captain of the New York Islanders, made $900,000 last year alone. And a number of hockey players make ten times that. Alex Rodriguez makes almost thirty times that." That’s crazy, and is a great comparison to the salaries of other athletes.

According to cnn.com, “In the NFL, first-year players earn a minimum of $420,000. Rookies in Major League Baseball and the NBA take in at least $507,000. The starting salary in the National Hockey League is $525,000. Then there's Major League Lacrosse, where rookies make about $7,000. The average for all players falls somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000.”

These statistics are mind blowing and really give you good perspective of how little lacrosse players are paid. Do players really mind though? Will the salaries of players ever change? If so, when? Like I said before only time will tell and all that lacrosse players, coaches, etc, can do is grow the game and show as many people as possible how great the game of lacrosse is.

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