Whose side are you on?
I know this is silly.
I love quotes, so I have quotes of the day popping up in all sorts of places. One today was:
"America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week." - Evan Esar"More like in a minute," I think. I tweet the quote and twask: Problem: how long does it take the average prof. athlete to earn the average annual teacher salary? Calling W|A! (Mr. Esar is listed in wikipedia as a humorist.)
@SethBurn asked back: "@mathhombre Are minor league baseball player's professional athletes? How about women in the WNBA? AHL hockey? MLS soccer?"
Hmmm. Admittedly I was thinking about MLB, NBA and NFL. Onto Wolfram|Alpha!
My first try was "average salary professional athlete" which got me the average US salary ($40,690/year). One of the suggestions was "athlete salary" which returned this data.
That's a lot of info. To see all that for the future searches, just click on the search terms, which will take you to the W|A search page.
"average teacher salary" finds for all US education, training and library occupations, $46,610/year. All right! Elementary teachers (a suggested search by W|A): $50,040/year for 1.54 million workers. Secondary teachers: for $52,450/year for 1.06 million teachers. It interpreted secondary to be highschool, so Middle School teachers: $50,630/year for 650,000 teachers. It occurs to me to ask for a comparison here: professional athletes vs teachers, which isn't much more informative.
So I calculate the average teacher salary (excluding special education and vocational teachers): (50040*1.54+52450*1.06+50630*.65)/(1.54+1.06+.65) = $50,944 as an average teacher salary.
What about the pro athletes? I think the original Wolfram Alpha figure is interesting. But what about the big time leagues?
Baseball: "average MLB salary" got the major league baseball teams, "average baseball salary MLB" didn't work (some results about the energy expenditures of playing baseball). Can't get it to give me the number. Finally googled it up: $2,944,556 in 2007, for 28 players*30 teams, 840 players; NFL $1.4 million in 2006 for 53 players * 32 teams, 1696 players; NBA $5,215,000 for 432 players. (The 30 teams can have up to 15, but not all do.) So the average major league professional salary: (2,944,556*840+1400000*1696+5215000*432)/(840+1696+432) = $2,390,000 for about 3000 professional athletes.
What about hockey? I am a die-hard Red Wings fan, so it breaks my heart, but I don't think the NHL is a major professional sport in the US anymore. And if the Wings are out, MLS is right out.
The original question involves breaking down by hourly wage. Which raises the question of how many hours an athlete works. I considered a lot of approaches, but ultimately decided that most pro athletes work year round now, considering conditioning, and long hours during a season. Maybe. So we'll consider the 50 weeks by 40 hours per week. About $1,195 per hour. $50,944/$1,195 is about 42.
Like I shouldn't have known the answer would be 42?
Anyhow, that's about a week. So congratulations on your estimate, Mr. Esar.