New York City is home to the largest population in the country as well as the NYC Marathon, the largest marathon in the world. A city that started out as a springboard for immigrants coming to America in the 1800s, New York has blossomed into a bustling city with billions of dollars flowing through its veins every year. With all this growth comes a higher standard of living, especially for sporting events. This year’s Super Bowl is no exception, with the average ticket price reaching over $3700, per ticket!
So where does all the money go? The Yankees have the second-highest payroll in baseball but aren’t on the list of top 25 most expensive sporting venues to go to. In fact, the Giants, Jets, and Knicks all cost over $150 per ticket to go to a game; landing each team in the top 10. Here’s a list of the top 10 highest-paid athletes in the Big Apple.
10. Derek Jeter (Shortstop) Yankees, 2013 Salary: $16.7 Million
Although he appeared in just 17 games during the 2013 season, Derek Jeter still made more than any active player on the New York Mets, Giants, and Jets. His 2,602 games as a Yankee have literally helped build the franchise from being worth $200 million in 1995 to over $3 billion today. “The Captain” has done this by batting over .300 for his career, appearing in 13 All-Star Games, and being a member of five World Series championships. As the Yankees’ all-time leader in hits, games played, stolen bases and at bats, it will surely be a sad day for baseball when he hangs up his cleats.
9. Deron Williams (Point Guard) Nets, 2013 Salary: $18.4 Million
As the former 3rd overall pick for the Utah Jazz during the 2005 NBA Draft, Deron Williams has become a household name in Brooklyn since arriving in 2011. In July 2012, Williams signed a 5-year, $98.7 million deal, making him one of the highest-paid players in the league. Throughout his career, Williams has averaged 17 PPG, shot over 45% from the field, and appeared in three All-Star Games. What’s intriguing about Williams is that in the playoffs, his game elevates even more. He has averaged over 20 PPG each season he has made the playoffs, something the Nets could use in a “win-now” 2014 season after signing Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Celtics.
8. Alfonso Soriano (Outfield) Yankees, 2013 Salary: $19 Million
After spending the first five years of his career in New York, Alfonso Soriano found his way back to the Big Apple after the Chicago Cubs traded him in July 2013. The 8-year, $136 million contract he signed as a Cub is chump change for the Yankees; he isn’t even in the top 3 highest-paid players on the team. A career .272 hitter, Soriano is known for his speed in the outfield and on the base path. He has stolen over 280 bases in 15 seasons, yet he has never won a Golden Glove. At times, his defense has been less than average, but he has always seemed to make up for it with his on-base percentage and durability. With his contract set to expire after the 2014 season, it would be a stretch for any team to sign the 38-year-old to a multi-million dollar deal.
7. Joe Johnson (SG) Nets, 2013 Salary: $21.4 Million
Out of Little Rock, Arkansas, Joe Johnson was drafted 10th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft. In 2010, Johnson signed a 6-year, $119 million deal with the Hawks, more than any other free agent. Yes, you read that correctly, Johnson’s contract was worth more than LeBron James’, Dwayne Wade’s, and Amar’e Stoudemire’s contracts. While he has been serviceable and above average in some respects, the Nets must be kicking themselves over what they could have had. Johnson has averaged just over 15 PPG as a Net and has yet to make the All-Star Game since being traded. Johnson’s days may be numbered as he now plays alongside Deron Williams and the Nets have gone crazy with spending in recent off seasons.
6. Carmelo Anthony (Forward) Knicks, 2013 Salary: $21.4 Million
As a member of the Denver Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony was involved in a blockbuster three-team trade during the 2011 season. As a result, the Knicks assumed Anthony’s contract and have had to pay him over $75 million in his four seasons as a Knick. Melo is worth it though; he has made it to the All-Star Game six times in his career, ranked in the top 7 in points scored every season, and has won player of the week 17 times. He has averaged over 25 PPG every season as a Knick, except for the 2011-12 season, and has averaged over 26 PPG in every playoff appearance. Anthony has a player option to become a free agent after this season and test the market. If he remains a Knick for at least one more year, the Knicks will owe him $23.3 million next season.
5. Amar’e Stoudemire (Forward) Knicks, 2013 Salary: $21.6 Million
After being selected 9th overall in the 2002 NBA Draft, Amare Stoudemire played eight seasons with the Phoenix Suns. As a member of the Suns, Stoudemire averaged over 20 PPG and 8 rebounds per game. However, since he became a Knick, his numbers in each of those categories have decreased and he has made the All-Star Game just once. What is even more disturbing is that as a Sun, he averaged 24 PPG in the playoffs, yet as a Knick, his average is a measly 11 PPG.
4. Mark Teixeira (First Basemen) Yankees, 2013 Salary: $23.1 Million
After spending 5 seasons with Texas and 2 with Atlanta, Mark Teixeira signed an 8-year, $180 million contract with the Yankees just before the 2009 season. In his 5 years as a Yankee, Teixeira has batted just .260 with 138 home runs. While these are somewhat disappointing numbers, he did manage to make it to the All-Star Game in 2009, his only appearance as a Yankee. Teixeira appeared in just 15 games during the 2013 season due to injury and is a free agent after 2016 when he will be 37 years old. It is highly unlikely that he will be offered another contract from the Yankees or any other team, as he has been a cash cow the past few seasons.
3. CC Sabathia (Pitcher) Yankees, 2013 Salary: $24.2 Million
CC Sabathia has been as big of a fixture in New York as his teammate, Derek Jeter. After spending most of his career in Cleveland, CC played with the Brewers for one season and then signed an 8-year, $182 million deal with the Yankees as a free agent. Sabathia has amassed over 200 wins in his career has a career 3.60 ERA, which is impressive considering Yankee Stadium typically favors hitters. Sabathia has made it to the All-Star Game 6 times and won the 2007 AL Cy Young Award. When he becomes a free agent at the age of 37 it will more than likely be time for CC to retire. But until then, he will continue to be one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball.
2. Johan Santana (Pitcher) Mets, 2013 Salary: $25 Million
The only Met on our list, Johan Santana’s contract has to be one of the biggest disappointments in recent history. After sitting out the entire 2011 season, Johan missed most of the 2012 season due to a ligament tear in his pitching shoulder. To make matters worse, he missed the entire 2013 season because of a similar injury. When Santana is healthy, he’s on. He made it to the All-Star Game in four separate seasons, being named a starter in three of them. He was also a two-time AL Cy Young winner and won the pitcher’s triple crown in 2006; unfortunately, none of these accolades came as a member of the Mets. Santana is currently a free agent and there is a very small probability he will ever be signed to another contract after missing so much time.
1. Alex Rodriguez (Third Basemen) Yankees, 2013 Salary: $29 Million
The top paid athlete in New York just so happens to be one of the most hated sports figures of all time. A-Rod wasn’t always a villain though, he was a promising star while playing in Seattle, and then he signed a monstrous 10-year, $252 million deal with the Rangers. In 2004, A-Rod was traded to the Yankees for Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later. After the 2007 season, he resigned with the Yankees as a free agent, this time for $275 million over 10 years. It wasn’t that Alex Rodriguez wasn’t worth the money, he had made it to the All-Star Game 14 times and appeared in over 2,000 games! The problem was that he resorted to performance enhancing drugs to keep up the historic career pace he had produced throughout his career. After numerous reports, A-Rod admitted to PEDs in 2009 and he has been criticized for it ever since. Rodriguez has also missed time due to injury and most recently, he has been banned for the entire 2014 season after being involved in the Biogenisis PED scandal.