All of this jibber jabber about ESPN's OTL show breaking down the salaries of UFC fighters and how it compares to the NFL, got me to thinking.
1968 was an important year in NFL history because it was the year the CBA (collective bargaining act) was established, or at least recognized by the NFL. It was the year of the lock out and the year the minimum salary was established for rookies and veterans. The minimum salary was agreed to at $9,000 for rookies and $10,000 for veterans.
Then in 1970 the merger between the AFL and NFL was official. Another lockout and strike later a renegotiation was done and the minimums were increased to $12,500/yr for rookies and $13,000 for veterans. That $12,500 in today's terms is roughly $80,000.00.
In 1968, the NFL saw revenues of $92,000,000. What does that equate to in today's value? $1,470,000,000.00
They were seeing revenues of over $29,000,000 in just tv/radio. Again that $29,000,000 equates to $183,000,000. Never mind tickets and licensing revenue.
But also worth noting, 1968 was something like 48 years after the NFL was established. 48 years for the sport to see growth. Make the necessary investments.
My point. As much as I want to believe MMA is mainstream, it's not. It's on it's way but its not there. Deals like the Fox deal are a HUGE step towards that. But we still need to keep things in perspective. The sport is still being established. There's a huge investment that needs to be made to educate the masses of people that don't fully grasp what the sport is about. While people will argue, I view the sport as a start up at this point. Yes, the UFC has done well and is doing well for themselves but they are still making a major investment in growing the sport. Don't forget UFC 1 was just 18 years ago. You can't only look at total revenue vs salary paid out without also looking at the overall operational/marketing costs associated to that revenue. MMA is still not seeing the same type of licensing or sponsorship revenue as the NFL so how can that be paid out to it's athletes?
Comparing MMA/UFC to NFL in any fashion other than maybe the fan demographic is a bit silly at this point.