Golf and football are elite sports with every year launching record-breaking salaries, championship rewards and sponsorships. This is a well-established environment with personal relationships and established contractual arrangements in place with agents, clubs, players and brands. But what is happening underneath the tip of the iceberg?
A 2016 survey by global players’ union Fifpro highlighted a large number of football players are concerned with the lack of control over their career path and contracts that are not respected. Professional non-elite players earn on average $1000pm. Players joining clubs as a free agent have a contract that averages only 19.5 months. The lower the salary, the shorter the contract. There is therefore increasing mobility during a players career more than ever before. In Europe alone, 36.1% of players were ‘foreign’ to the league they were playing. This underpins this mobility will be across countries not only clubs.
Then we have the changing nature of professional football. FIFA estimates there are 265 million professional players. Of these, 30 million are female, a 54% increase from year 2000. There is also a considerable increase in disability participation in football. These professionals do not benefit from the same support, profile or opportunities than established male teams and players.
Golf presents an interesting case for its internationalisation. After concerning golf figures there has been recent stabilisation, and there are still over 200 countries that actively play golf, with just under 10,000 private golf clubs. In Europe, 66% of registered golfers are male, with popular female markets across Germany, Austria and Slovenia. Yet, there have been cancellations with female golf tournaments and sponsorship remains a concern for professional female golfers.
We also know there is a high proportion of professional footballers who play amateur golf either privately or at public pro-am events. This relationship is likely to remain, and an important cross-sector factor for retired footballers. Golf and football therefore remain truly global sports and the increasing profile of Asia and India has continued to widen the career footprint across the globe.
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