Box Office (noun)
A measure of how popular and financially successful a film or actor is:
(use) His last movie was a surprise box-office hit.
If you are a football fan, or even just a casual observer, chances are you caught wind of Phillipe Coutinho’s recent £142 million transfer to Barcelona. Most people were taken aback by the staggering sum, but the truth is it shouldn’t even be that surprising. Football is catching up to a trend that has been set in other professional sports. A professional athletes worth in today’s society is increasingly being measured by their force of personality, which is why the most popular players aren’t necessarily the best, they are just the most “box office” professionals.
Box office is a term usually used to describe how popular a film or actor is, but it is also applicable to athletes. In this sense, you look at not just how good a player is, but also how he or she draws an audience. David Beckham is a good example of this. He was never the world’s best player, and he probably would have had a hard time cracking the top ten in his era. But Beckham certainly was box office as his ability to take set pieces coupled with his good looks made him a lucrative property in his own right.
This is not to say that Coutinho will ever be in the same category as Beckham, but but it’s to show that if there is enough hype around an athlete in modern sports today, he or she will probably end up making just as much money as other players that a better than them. Particularly as it pertains to the overall worth of player contracts or transfers, Coutinho is now the third most expensive football signing of all time. Despite this, did you know that Coutinho is only the 16th (!) most expensive signing of all time! Here are 15 athletes who signed contracts that are worth more than Coutinho’s £142 million (approximately USD $192 million) transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona:
|Rank||Player||Team||Sport||Length of contract||Contract value (USD)||Average per year (USD)||Average per game (USD)|
|01||Giancarlo Stanton||Miami Marlins||Baseball||13 years (2014-2027)||$325,000,000||$25,000,000||$154,320.99|
|02||Alex Rodriguez||New York Yankees||Baseball||10 years (2008–2017)||$275,000,000||$27,500,000||$169,753.09|
|03||Neymar||Paris Saint Germain||Association football||5 years (2017-2022)||$270,000,000||$54,000,000||$1,080,000|
|04||Alex Rodriguez||Texas Rangers||Baseball||10 years (2001–2010)||$252,000,000||$25,200,000||$155,555.56|
|05||Miguel Cabrera||Detroit Tigers||Baseball||8 years (2016–2023)||$248,000,000||$31,000,000||$191,358.02|
|06 (tie)||Robinson Cano||Seattle Mariners||Baseball||10 years (2014–2023)||$240,000,000||$24,000,000||$148,148.15|
|06 (tie)||Albert Pujols||Los Angeles Angels||Baseball||10 years (2012–2021)||$240,000,000||$24,000,000||$148,148.15|
|07||James Harden||Houston Rockets||Basketball||6 years (2017-2023)||$228,000,000||$38,000,000||$463,414.64|
|08||Joey Votto||Cincinnati Reds||Baseball||10 years (2014-2024)||$225,000,000||$22,500,000||$138,889|
|08||David Price||Boston Red Sox||Baseball||7 years (2016–2022)||$217,000,000||$31,000,000||$191,358.02|
|09||Clayton Kershaw||Los Angeles Dodgers||Baseball||7 years (2014–2020)||$215,000,000||$30,714,285||$186,120.37|
|10||Prince Fielder||Detroit Tigers||Baseball||9 years (2012–2020)||$214,000,000||$23,777,777||$146,776.40|
|11||Max Scherzer||Washington Nationals||Baseball||7 years (2015–2021)||$210,000,000||$30,000,000||$185,185.19|
|12||Zack Greinke||Arizona Diamondbacks||Baseball||6 years (2016–2021)||$206,500,000||$34,416,667||$212,448.56|
|14||Russell Westbrook||Oklahoma City Thunder||Basketball||5 years (2018–2023)||$205,000,000||$41,000,000||$491,000.00|
|15||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors||Basketball||5 years (2017–2022)||$201,200,000||$40,200,000||$490,243.90|
Of course, some eagle eyed readers may have noticed that the worlds two best football players (Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi) don’t feature on this list. As noted, we are looking at the value of contract or transfer, not necessarily an athletes net earnings. Remember that Ronaldo only signed for what was then a world record fee of £80 million in 2009 while Messi has been a one club player all his life. Such is the nature of professional sports that records are still being broken.
Fact: Coutinho Cost More Money Than Ronaldo….. Deal With It!
In some instances you find transcendental personalities that have both the undisputed talent that make them the best athletes in their disciplines, but also have that box office factor. A few recognizable names that spring to mind are Usain Bolt, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Roger Federer and perhaps the greatest athlete of them all Michael Jordan. But because such individuals are rare and far between, professional clubs and sponsors will look for the next best option and will almost certainly over pay for a player if they believe they are worth it. In Coutinho’s case, Barcelona seemingly believe that he at least has what it takes to be a “box office” player.