Professional baseball players enjoy some of the highest salaries in all of professional sports. After all, they’re expected to remain healthy and effective over a 20-game pre-seasons, a 162-game regular season, and with any luck at all a postseason run that could continue well into early November.
True, it’s not the most physically demanding professional sport, but playing six out of every seven days, week in and week out, for at least six months will take its toll on body, mind, and spirit.
Fortunately, there’s a reward for players and teams who can compete at the highest level and make it into the postseason, and hopefully to a World Series victory. It’s something known as “money shares,” which is bonus money for making it into the post season. The better a player and his team perform, and the longer they continue to play, the bigger each player’s bonus becomes.
For some players, particularly younger ones who typically don’t make the same as superstar veterans, the postseason bonus can exceed their regular season salary. For others, it can be a single-digit bonus.
Here’s how postseason money shares are calculated.
Separate Bonus Pools
The postseason in Major League Baseball is broken down into three distinct tournaments: The Division Series, the League Championship Series, and the World Series. What starts as four teams from each league—The American League and National League—in their respective division series, is trimmed to two teams from each league, striving to win their League Championship Series, and eventually one team from each vying to win the World Series.
Each series has a separate pool of bonus money, which is determined by the following:
- Gate receipts. A series with two very popular teams can generate more money through ticket sales than can a one-sides or less exciting matchups
- Venue size. Not every game is a sellout, but when they are, the larger venues will obviously sell more tickets than their smaller counterparts.
- Premium seating. Choice seats and private boxes generate a lot of income for teams. The more of these types of seats available in any venue, the higher the gate receipts.
- Games played. Longer series will generate higher gross gate receipts.
It should be noted that Major League Baseball sets the ticket prices for each postseason game, which helps to stabilize the bonus pool for each series.
Winners and Losers
Nobody likes to be on the losing end of any sporting event, but in the MLB it comes with a nice consolation prize: cash. The money from each series is aggregated throughout the final game of the World Series and then divvied up as follows:
- The World Series winner gets 36 percent of the total pool, while the loser gets 24 percent.
- Both losers in the League Championship Series get 12 percent.
- Four Division Series losers each receive three percent.
- Four second place teams that did not win the Wild Card berth into the postseason each receive one percent.
How each player is paid in the postseason is determined during a regular season meeting, usually sometime just after the July 31 trade deadline. Each team heading into the postseason has 25 roster spots to fill and they are the players who will receive a share of the bonus pool.
Usually, each player will receive one full share of the pool, which means available pool money will be divided into 25 equal slices per team. Players not with the team for a full season could receive less than a full share, depending on how the union votes.
Real Dollars and Cents
The 2011 World Series was between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. The series went seven games with an average attendance of 47,000 for the four games in St. Louis and 51,000 for the three games played in Arlington. Every game, as expected, was a sellout.
The Cardinals won the series, which meant its players split 36 percent of the total pool. Rangers players split 24 percent. This resulted in each player on the Cardinals roster receiving approximately $323,170, while each player on the Rangers received roughly $251,516.
In 2010, the San Francisco Giants beat the Texas Rangers in the World Series and each winning player received $317,631 while the losing side got $246,280.
The year before, the New York Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies. The added excitement of having the Yankees in the World Series definitely had a positive impact on postseason money shares. Players in the Yankees roster each received $350,030 while the Phillies got $265,358 per player.
Winning that championship ring and all the bragging rights that come with it aside, it definitely pays well to make the postseason in Major League Baseball.
What do you think about the payout for MLB players?
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The Surprising Amount MLB Players Pocket for the Postseason
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