Baseball players make as little as $18,500 to play in an All-Star Game, with some making as much as $100,000 from All Star contract clauses. The pay to play in an All-Star Game would be great for a normal human. Six free tickets, first class air travel and accommodation, meals and merchandise plus a $1,000 cash stipend would be a dream come true for many fans of the sport. But for players who already make tens of millions per year, the freebies amount to working another day for free. It’s all well and good to trot out the love of the game, but if that’s the bellwether of choice then why don’t the networks air the game out of love too, and leave the ads for Rocket Mortgage and McDonald’s out of it?
Here’s How Much Money Baseball Players Make in an All-Star Game
The MLB All Star Game money per player is listed in the table below and it’s not what you’d call lucrative. What the compensation really amounts to is making sure baseball players don’t actually have to shell out money to play in the game, rather than actually paying them. The players get six tickets to the game, first class air travel to and from the game for themselves and two guests and first class hotel accommodation at the game. They also get a three day meal allowance and a $1,000 cash stipend, plus merchandise and gifts from sponsors. In other words, there is virtually no cash enticement for any player to play in the MLB All Star Game. Notice we said virtually. Some players do get money to play in the All-Stars in the form of bonuses written into their contracts. Notice we said some and see the section below for details. Also there’s the chance that good performance in an All-Star Game will win the interest of a future sponsor and turn into endorsement pay in years to come.
MLB All Star Game Money
|Six tickets for guests||$6,000|
|First class air travel to the All Star Game for player and 2 guests||$3,500|
|First class hotel stay at the All Star Game||$2,000|
|Three day meal and tip allowance||$1,000|
|Merchandise and gifts||$5,000|
|Bonuses for some MLB players written into contracts||$25,000 to $100,000|
|Total Without Bonus||$18,500|
|Total Possible With Bonus||$118,500|
The world will be watching.
July 11-12. San Diego. LET’S GO.https://t.co/UoF7mjkJUf
— All-Star Game (@AllStarGame) June 16, 2016
All-Star Game Bonuses: Who Gets Them?
So if MLB players don’t really get money for playing in the All-Star Game unless they have an All-Star bonus written into their contract, then who has those bonuses? It’s a crap shoot. It all depends what the player’s agent fought for and what the player thought was important. Looking at the twenty highest paid baseball players in the country turned up a mixed bag of All-Star bonuses and non-bonues. Take a look at the table below to see a cross section of All-Star money. Each of the players below is on the top-30 highest paid list for the MLB. They’ve got salaries anywhere from $16 million to $31 million. Yet half of them get All-Star bonuses and half do not. Even the ones that do have bonuses probably hardly notice the money. The biggest bonus on the docket goes to Justin Verlander. The Detroit Tigers pitcher gets $100,000 for playing in the All-Star Game. While that would be a solid year’s pay for many people, it’s only a third of a percent of Verlander’s yearly salary. In other words, it’s hardly worth the effort.
MLB All Star Money Bonuses
|Player||Team||Salary||All Star Bonus|
|Zack Greinke||Arizona Diamondbacks||$31,000,000||$0|
|Justin Verlander||Detroit Tigers||$28,000,000||$100,000|
|Felix Hernandez||Seattle Mariners||$25,000,000||$50,000|
|C.C. Sabathia||New York Yankees||$25,000,000||$0|
|Ryan Howard||Philadelphia Phillies||$25,000,000||$25,000|
|Albert Pujols||Los Angeles Angels||$25,000,000||$50,000|
|Robinson Cano||Seattle Mariners||$24,000,000||$50,000|
|Mark Teixeira||New York Yankees||$22,500,000||$0|
|Mike Trout||Los Angeles Angels||$16,083,333||$0|
|Joe Mauer||Minnesota Twins||$23,000,000||$0|
Related: How Much Money Do You Get If You Win the World Series?
All Star Game Performance and Future Endorsements
Do MLB All-Star Game players get money in the form of beefed-up endorsement deals? They may. Certainly one of the things big companies look for in a partner for endorsement deals is fame. Fame is the currency of the sponsor game and obviously any player chosen for the All-Star Game has it. But do players get more endorsement deals because they’re in an All-Star Game or are they in the game because they’re already famous and they would have gotten the endorsement deals anyway? Chicken, meet egg. An argument can certainly be made that winning a World Series will funnel more endorsement contract ink into a baseball player’s ready mitt, but it’s a lot harder to make that case with an All-Star Game. That being the case, why do players take part in them? Could it really and finally be for love of the game?
Just one reason why home field for the World Series should not be tied to the All-Star game IMHO. https://t.co/RSKjpf0Mhw
— Mario Impemba (@mario_impemba) July 12, 2016
MLB All Star Ratings and the Love of the Game
The MLB All-Star Game in 2015 landed 10.9 million viewers. That’s about 1/10th of a Super Bowl. Even so, it’s the most watched All-Star Game of any major league, including the NFL, NBA and NHL. Advertisers pay $5 million to place a 30 second Super Bowl ad. Doing a little math, it’s not hard to imagine that they pay 1/12th of that or $416,700 to place a 30 second baseball All-Star Game ad. Not hard to imagine, but probably not the case. Super Bowl ads are the subject of blogs, social media shares and office chit-chat for days or even weeks after they are aired. There’s a giant exposure multiplier on Super Bowl ads that simply does not exist for All-Star Game advertisers. In fact, a single tweet by Kim Kardashian will reach four times the amount of people that an All-Star ad does. That being the case, sponsors likely make less money on an All-Star Game than most people imagine. Viewed in that way, the game is more of a way to beef up interest in the sport than an actual big moneymaker. Even so, it is a moneymaker, so why are the players asked to work it for free? The old fall-back argument that players should be in it for the love of the game first makes a lot of sense, but then why don’t the networks air it out of a similar romantic notion? Food for thought. I’ll have two Ball Park Franks and a Coke, please.