Sports has reached a level of spending that makes Joe Burrow’s record contract look cute. The Cincinnati Bengal quarterback’s $275 million deal is laughable if it wasn’t all too real. English Premier League clubs spent $2.97 billion in the most recent transfer window. Tiger Woods was reportedly offered between $700 million and $800 million by LIV Golf. Kylian Mbappé could’ve been a billionaire if he opted to go to the Saudi Pro League.
The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund is literally trying to buy entire sports.
The Big Ten got an $8 billion deal for its college football TV rights. Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics can’t dribble with his left hand, yet he signed the most lucrative contract ($303 million) in NBA history during the offseason. He’ll hold that title momentarily with the cap, and thus player salaries, set to rise.
Shohei Ohtani is prepping for his free agency by shopping for a vault with a diving board. There are rumors that the bidding starts at $500 million, and it could be a billion for all I care. The amount of money thrown around in the wealthiest sects of society isn’t real.
It’s not real. It’s Candyland. Elon Musk is buying large swaths of the Gumdrop Mountain range, Jeff Bezos owns his little piece of Molasses Swamp, and Mark Zuckerberg has the market cornered on peppermint. Living, breathing human beings — subject to bloating after beer and stadium cheese just like us — are playing board games with multi-billion dollar industires, and we’re on X or Bluesky or whatever judging what’s a fair deal as if we will ever come near that kind of money.
I mean, what is Burrow going to do with $275 million? Start another production company? Lord knows the world needs that like it needs another billionaire. Did Succession teach us nothing? Rich little nepo babies are going to control massive amounts of the world’s wealth, power — and sports teams — indefinitely, and I’m supposed to clap whenever someone gets a “bag” because of generational wealth? The only time I’m happy when an athlete gets paid is if they’re now rich for the first time, and have graduated to a class of people that I assume occupies the nice yachts on Lake Michigan.
Ryan Reynolds, the guy from Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, owns an English soccer club and is worth $350 million. I would reenact every scene from that show for $30,000, and smile doing it. Hell, Deadpool can spit in my nostril right now for $250 if that’s his kink.
Even when investments appear risky, Lionel Messi comes to America, and Apple’s MLS subscriptions skyrocket as if that was the plan all along. You know who never falls ass-backward into piles of cash? The everyman. (I’m using everyman as a non-gender specific term because I think it’s funny, and, yes, I know the everywoman has it worse.)
The everyman labors 48 to 50 weeks a year, and his reward is a paltry salary, an overbearing workload, and a swift kick to the teeth. To be 100 percent truthful, it’s probably better that the masses can’t put any sum higher than $1 million into context, because if we could, it would ruin sports.
I don’t even want to do the thing where I tell you how many mid-sized sedans Joe Burrow could buy with that new paycheck. Just know that it’s a lot, and you’re better off watching him toss the ol’ pigskin around with a dopey grin on your face, and worrying about your fantasy team instead of the rapid erosion of humanity.
You know what? You’re not getting a recap. I’m not done. All of the celebrities courtside makes me want to avoid the US Open. Jake Paul attending an event is like your parents joining Facebook: A sign that it’s time to delete your account.
This yearning to be at Flushing Meadows in late summer is simply another indicator of one’s standing among the aristocracy, and it’s a colossal waste of time. Stop idol worshiping, go read a book, and find a part of your individuality that doesn’t need validation.