People Playing Fifa Can Now Earn More Money Than Professional Footballers
As many of you may know, not only was yesterday the last day of January, but it was the last day of the January transfer window. This meant that football teams all over the world rushed to complete signings they only just realised they needed and offered gratuitous amounts of money to convince footballers to join their ranks.
Prior to the actual deadline day, Manchester United signed Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in a swap deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and made him the highest paid player in the Premier League, with a whopping salary of £400,000-per-week.
I’m an Arsenal fan so that bothers me for various reasons, but the second Mesut Ozil signed a new contract – making him earn £350,000-a-week – I stopped caring about anything else. I didn’t even mind that sexy, sexy Giroud left for Chelsea (that’s not true. I cared so much).
But I’m missing the point here. The point is that £400,000 – while larger numbers exist – is famously a lot of money, and £400,000-a-week for the next few years is famously a high wage. However, on the other end of the spectrum, players in English football leagues aren’t getting all that much. The average wage of players in the fourth tier of English football, League Two, is £47,372-a-year (obviously still quite a lot of money). That plays in stark contrast to the big boys in the Premier League and it gets worse.
Footballers generally retire at 33-years-old, give or take a few years, so then what? You’ve earned £47,000-a-year for, like, the last 15-ish years and then you retire. You’ve not earned enough to retire from work completely, you’re not well-known enough to be a pundit, looks like you’re going to have to be a secondary school PE teacher with a constant chip on your shoulder about nearly making it big.
So if you love football but you’re not good enough to make it into the higher leagues but still want to earn money from football in some capacity, what do you do? You play FIFA of course.
Now if you’re reading this, it’s likely that you play FIFA (or PES if you’re weird) and I’d wager that you’re better at that than you are at playing real football. But if you were really good – top ten in the world good – you could be earning more money than your run-of-the-mill League Two footballer. How’s that? The average yearly intake for a top-ten competitive FIFA player is £56,870, and that’s without sponsorship and the like.
The competitive video gaming (eSports) industry was estimated to be worth $696 million last year by the year 2020, it’s expected to rise to over $1.5 billion. The keen mathematicians amongst you will notice the difference between those two numbers. Spencer ‘Gorilla’ Ealing is last year’s winner of FIFA’s annual video gaming competition, and for his efforts he won a cool $200,000. The explain the growth in the game, that’s $180,000 more than the year prior’s prize of $20,000.
He got four-times as much money than a League Two player gets in a year, in one day, without breaking a sweat.
We’re now at the age where people are growing up wanting to be YouTubers and pro-gamers and unrealistic though they may be, they really are valid ways to make money – like being on TV or being a real footballer.
The lower leagues of England are widely regarded as the best lower leagues in the world, and there are people in the world making more money than 25% of English-league players but literally pretending to be them on a video game.
If you’re a child and your only prospects are playing FIFA really well, or playing football quite well, why would you not go for the FIFA angle? You wouldn’t even have to sweat and you’d probably make more money.
That said, If I were an average footballer playing for Oldham who was good enough to be a pro-FIFA player, I’d still rather move to LA and tear up the MLS as the best striker there.
Then Again… Americans…
Images via EA, Getty, Red Bull, Apple