The XFL, a dynamic and innovative addition to the world of American football, has grabbed the attention of fans and pundits alike.
We’ve covered earlier, the most profitable sports out there. But now we wan to answer one burning question: “How much do XFL players earn?”
Let’s delve into the earnings of several of the league’s most recognizable faces and explore the various income streams that contribute to their yearly paycheck.
1. Base Salaries: The Starting Point
The primary income source for most XFL players is their base salary. As of 2022, the average player earned around $55,000 for a 10-game season. However, top players, especially quarterbacks, could earn significantly more.
Some quarterbacks, the stars of the league, were rumored to be earning in the neighborhood of $500,000 or more per season.
- Quarterbacks (QBs): They’re often the face of the team and hence command the highest salaries. For instance, P.J. Walker, who played for the Houston Roughnecks, quickly became a star due to his outstanding performance. Before moving to the NFL, rumors circulated that he was one of the highest-paid players in the XFL, potentially earning around $500,000 for the season.
- Skill Positions: Players in skill positions, such as wide receivers and running backs, also have respectable salaries. Cam Phillips, also of the Roughnecks, was one of the league’s top wide receivers. While the exact figures weren’t public, it’s estimated he might have earned somewhere in the range of $100,000 to $150,000 for the season.
- Defensive Stars: Defence often wins championships, and top defensive players are rewarded accordingly. Dexter McCoil, a safety with the St. Louis BattleHawks, brought a wealth of experience from the NFL and CFL. His earnings would likely reflect this experience, possibly ranging from $80,000 to $120,000 for the season.
In contrast to the above figures, most players in the league earned a standardized salary. For example, Tier 1 players earned about $60,000, Tier 2 players around $50,000-$55,000, and Tier 3 players might have brought in $45,000-$50,000 over the 10-game season.
2. Win Bonuses: A Game Changer
Another significant income stream for XFL players is win bonuses. Every player on a winning team earns an additional bonus, encouraging fierce competition and ensuring games remain exciting till the last second. The specific amounts can vary, but these bonuses are a welcome addition to their base salary.
- Game Bonuses: Every XFL game had a pot of $100,000 in bonuses that was split among the winning team. That means each player on the winning team could earn an additional $2,000 to $2,500 per game, depending on roster size. Over a 10-game season, this could add up to a substantial amount for players on successful teams.
- Playoffs and Championship Bonuses: The stakes get higher in the postseason. Players on teams that made it to the playoffs and especially the championship game stood to earn even more in bonuses. The exact figures could vary, but it wouldn’t be uncommon for championship players to earn several thousand dollars more in bonus money.
3. Fan Engagement and Personal Branding
With the rise of social media and personal branding, many top XFL players have begun to monetize their off-the-field activities. Platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok allow them to engage directly with fans, and with this comes sponsorship deals, paid promotions, and partnerships. While this might not be as consistent as a salary, for top players with a significant following, it can be a substantial income source.
- Direct Monetization: Platforms like YouTube allow players to create content, providing insights into their training routines, personal lives, and more. Monetizing these platforms can generate a significant income. For instance, a player with a channel of 100,000 subscribers could earn anywhere from $500 to $5,000 per month based on views and engagement.
- Endorsements & Sponsorships: High fan engagement numbers can attract sponsors. Brands are more likely to collaborate with players who have a substantial social media following, offering them deals for promoting products or making appearances.
- Merchandise Sales: A strong personal brand means fans are more likely to buy merchandise associated with that player. Whether it’s custom T-shirts, signature training equipment, or even digital products like mobile apps, players can earn a hefty sum from these sales.
- Increased Negotiation Power: A player with a strong personal brand and fan base brings more than just their athletic skills to a team. They bring an audience, which can be monetized through ticket sales, viewership, and merchandise. This gives them a stronger position during contract negotiations, potentially leading to higher salaries or better contract terms.
4. Merchandising and Royalties
Player-specific merchandise – think jerseys, caps, posters, and more – provide another avenue of income. While the XFL itself would take a cut, players often earn royalties from sales, especially if they’re among the league’s most popular.
- Jersey Sales: A player’s jersey often becomes a symbol of fan loyalty. For top XFL stars, a percentage of these sales goes directly into their pockets as royalties. Depending on their agreement, this can be anywhere from 5% to 15% of the retail price.
- Signature Collections: Beyond jerseys, players with a high demand might collaborate with brands to release signature collections. Footwear, sports gear, and even casual clothing lines can offer a substantial additional income, especially if they are involved in the design or promotion process.
- Memorabilia: Autographed items, special edition merchandise, and game-used gear can fetch higher prices, especially for star players or after notable games. Auctioning or selling these limited items can lead to considerable earnings.
5. Off-field Ventures and Partnerships
Just like any professional athlete, XFL players have opportunities off the field. Some have been known to invest in businesses, become brand ambassadors, or even launch their own ventures, be it in fitness, food, or fashion.
- Investments: Savvy players might invest their earnings in startups, real estate, or other ventures. For instance, a player might put money into a local restaurant, tech startup, or fitness center, reaping the rewards if these enterprises succeed.
- Endorsements: Separate from their personal brand, players might be approached for product endorsements due to their athletic reputation. These deals can be short-term campaign-based or longer contractual partnerships, offering steady income streams.
- Business Ventures: Some players launch their own businesses, capitalizing on their fame and the skills they’ve acquired. These could range from sports training academies to apparel brands or even multimedia ventures.
6. Bonus Structures and Additional Incentives
Finally, players might have additional incentives based on performance metrics, participation in promotional activities, and more. These can vary widely from one contract to another but can make a significant difference in a player’s annual income.
- Attendance Incentives: Some players might have bonuses tied to game attendance figures, particularly if they’re seen as major draws for fans.
- Performance Milestones: Apart from general game performance, players might have specific milestones in their contracts. For example, a quarterback might have a bonus for throwing a certain number of touchdowns in a season, or a defender might get a bonus for a particular number of interceptions.
- Promotional Activities: Players might also earn bonuses for participating in promotional activities, attending fan events, or taking part in community outreach programs organized by the team or the league.
- Loyalty and Longevity Bonuses: Longer contracts might have clauses that reward players for staying with a team for an extended period, incentivizing them to stick around and grow with the franchise.
In essence, while the XFL might not offer the million-dollar contracts common in the NFL, it’s clear players have numerous avenues to supplement their earnings. From base salaries and win bonuses to personal branding and off-field ventures, top XFL stars have numerous ways to bolster their bank accounts.