Julie asked me that question as I sit here watching some of the Grey Cup, the championship game of the Canadian Football League. I knew that their salaries were meagre compared to bigger professional leagues, but I wasn’t sure of specifics. TSN Magazine (it looks like that link is broken–TSN ought to know better) to the rescue:
Minimum salaries in the CFL this year are $30,000 for rookies and $32,000 for veterans. The minimum increases to $35,000 next year as a result of the CFL’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The average CFL salary is about $45,000 Canadian.
Starters, excluding quarterbacks, can command anywhere between $60,000 and $120,000, depending on their position. Quarterbacks are generally the highest-paid players, making between $150,000 and $300,000.
Later, the article discusses other jobs many CFL players take:
The effect of low salaries donned [sic] on me while I was interviewing Edmonton kicker Sean Fleming during practice at Commonwealth Stadium Wednesday. “I work full-time year-round at Price Waterhouse Coopers. I’ve done that for a year and a half. Before that, I was an investment advisor with National Bank Financial. So basically I’ve got one full-time job and this is my part-time job,” he said…
Before joining the CFL, Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray was delivering Frito Lay potato chips for $43,000 U.S. a year – more than he’s made in Edmonton this year. That’s just plain sad.
I don’t think it’s sad. I think it’s probably fair. These guys are being reasonably reimbursed for doing something that they love. The only sad part is that they couldn’t stick in a league that paid them more. I’m guessing the owners aren’t shafting them or anything–the league is simply small, and small-time.