How Much IS Too Much?


Has the present-day consumption mindset taken over football? Do we buy players for exorbitant amounts just to feed into some weird consumerism?

Big Money

Do clubs spend this money just for an amazing player? Or just to sell jerseys? Or is it a type of social status? A status that shows the football world (1) You have enough money to buy this player and/or (2) This player chose your club.

Is it possibly a gimmick to get the entire world to pay attention? Football clubs don’t just compete with one another for a piece of the market share but other sports and entertainment avenues, such as the movies. These stars of the field are competing with the stars of the box office. And if they aren’t seen as just as important as Hollywood stars, a value usually based on a dollar amount, than maybe their relevance will be short lived. Why would Old Trafford be called “The Theater of Dreams,” if people didn’t want to be entertained? And rising transfer fees keep everyone entertained.

Supply and Demand Football

Sport like most things belongs to a market. To be fair, it is a more complex market with many different sellers and buyers, it’s not just clubs and leagues, but sponsors and sports brands all jumbled together. Not all markets focus on profits, for example the IOC, International Olympic Committee, who focus on the games and the integrity of them rather than dollar signs and profit. They are still on the supply side of this market. From marketing 101 we must look at the other side of Supply, that of Demand. ( A little marketing  basics from  Investopedia: Supply represents how much and what the market offers, in this case players and clubs. The quantity supplied is the amount received for that supply. The correlation between price and how much of a good or

service is supplied to the market is known as the supply relationship. Demand refers to how much, quantity, of a product or service is desired by buyers, or how much fans are willing to pay along with sponsors and other sport entities. The quantity demanded is the amount of a product people are willing to buy at a certain price; this relationship is the demand relationship. Price, therefore, is a reflection of supply and demand). Clearly the market ‘demands’ these soaring prices, but as consumers is it not our need for our eyes to bulge when we see these numbers?

Show Me the 000,000,000

As consumers we love seeing numbers and the bigger they get the more exciting they are. These prices don’t just show the players worth to the club but give the fans something to talk about. They are then able to break down every part of the players game in order to judge if they really are worth all the money. And if they are not, then all the better because now we can all complain about how crazy the club was to spend that much and break down exactly why they aren’t worth it and to top it off which player would have been worth it.

What’s Wrong with Minimum Wage?

But what in us drives this need for numbers and the shock value of them? If you are able to get your hands on the financial records of major European clubs, and lets all face it you’re not, would you be shocked to know the staff of the clubs make the going rate?

For example, the physical therapist who masages Ronaldo everyday probably makes just a little more than the going rate for physical therapists in Italy. Does that really make sense considering how much those quads are worth? But I’m sure that physical therapist is at the top if his/her game just like Ronaldo and works just as hard at his/her craft. And by now I’m sure you’re asking yourself where is she going with this???

My point is, why does the player get the exorbitant amount and the staff around the players and club not? If the staff is willing to put in just as much blood sweat and tears to create the entertainment that we all love so much then why can’t the players do it at ‘normal salaries’ too?

My only answer is…. US! The fans. We want those huge numbers. We need those dollar signs. The newly built consumer society that we are all cogs in thrives off of it. We want our voices to reverberate through the rumor mill and comment on the outlandish transfer fees that create this beautiful disaster of hype and stardom. It is our guilty pleasure.

But with the numbers so big now can they really keep going up? Do we want them to? And is football more beautiful because of them or is it starting to be tainted with greed and shock value? I don’t have an answer. But if you do, please let me know. Comment and share and lets get to the bottom of our consumer fan frenzy.


  1. I don’t think the average fan WANTS the player making millions and talking about transfer fees is not what drives the price up. We don’t crave the price inflation, but we crave football stars the same way Hollywood craves Brad Pitt. The market puts a large premium on the “Likeability” of the player and their fame outside of his on the pitch performance. I like comparing Football to Hollywood. There you don’t have Brad Pitts makeup person making 10X market rate. He/She is not on the screen and the amazing performance will go unnoticed. But Brad Pitts face is what will bring some people to the theatre even if movie is mediocre. And he will get paid millions in the city of starving actors. Is he 100X better than them? Of course not. But his face is a brand.

  2. Thanks for that Stan. Though I do believe Hollywood makeup artist do make much much more than the going rate of normal makeup artist. I’ll see what I can find out.

  3. I think all of the reason that were stated as to the reasons clubs pay so much money for players is correct.
    I do agree that clubs pay ridiculous amounts of money for players because it will sell gear. Clubs need to make $$$ to satisfy their shareholders.
    Of course the players are celebrities and we buy the gear because we idolized them and it is available. Supply and demand.
    there has to be a change in the system in which the support staff is being paid better. It would be great if they would cap the salary of the players and have people work harder for their $$$. I think it would make better games. I think this goes for any industry.
    Lets not get started with the psychology of these players that grew up with no money all of the sudden get so much $$$. Perhaps another article Ms. Criscione should write?


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