General Footy Writing: Demetriou is way overpaid compared to overseas contemporaries

By Clint Youlden

Allow me to talk about Andrew Demetriou’s salary. There is not one national sports chief executive or commissioner, not even anyone close, who earns the salary that Demetriou earns in comparison to that competition’s best player.

Demetriou was paid $1.6 million last year and the highest paid player in the competition was paid about $800,000. The league’s chief executive makes twice as much as the people we actually go to the football to watch!

The highest-paid commissioner or CEO of any national sports league is the NBA’s David Stern, who takes home about $10 million a year. But the competition’s highest paid player, Kevin Garnett, takes home $25 million.

Roger Goodell, the CEO of the NFL, makes $12 million but the highest-paid player, Dwight Freeney, is on $30 million. If the NBA and the NFL followed the pay scales of the AFL and paid Stern and Goodell $50 million and $60 million respectively, there would be an uproar from fans and a strike from players and coaches!

Some might argue that Demetriou has empowered the game to grow immensely since he has been at the helm. Some might also say that Demetriou’s salary is on par with comparable leaders in the business world. But you would be a fool to suggest that he is responsible for all the money coming in. The AFL is a massive ratings winner and the lucrative televisions deal would’ve been done no matter who was at the front desk.

Professional athletes have only a few years to earn and they deserve a big slice of the money they generate. In comparison, someone in regular employment (including a CEO) can have 20 or 30 earning years. Demetriou’s salary suggests that AFL players are massively underpaid.

In successful sports organisations in the US, top administrators are paid 30 to 50 per cent of the highest paid player. On this scale, Demetriou would earn no more than $400,000. His current salary is not an issue because most of us ignore it. Maybe we as Australian football people should compare the AFL to rest of the world’s successful sporting organisations.

Clint Youlden is a sports scientist who runs a company called Cannonball. You can contact him on 0402 498 798 or at [email protected]

About Clint Youlden

Clint Youlden is a High Performance Sports Scientist that specializes in the biomechanics/coaching and training of speed and is also the inventor (and patent holder) of a training method that simultaneously increases all aspects of athletic performance. He deals with skill acquisition, training, nutrition, supplementation, and recovery of athletes. You can contact him on 0402 498 798 or at [email protected]


  1. The Cannonball says

    And while we are on the topic of things I wrote about 2 YEARS AGO…

    Yesterday’s Age, pg 3 of Sport liftout…

    “Demetriou should not be best paid” by Jon Pierik

    Hmmmm… I guess we’ll wait and see how many other articles I’ve written will be ‘thought of’ by the “experts’ this year?

  2. Good call, Clint. Maybe you should have a regular column on the Almanac called “Sports Tomorrow”.

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