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Are Sports Commissioners Paid Too Much?

Friday, 13 Feb 2009 | 11:49 AM ET
Bud Selig
AP
Bud Selig

As the blogosphere lights up about Bud Selig's $18.35 million salary, we've confirmed that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will freeze his 2009 salary at $11 million. The commissioner will also take a voluntary 20 to 25 percent cut off his 2008 total compensation.

The details were first reported by USA Today.

People have lambasted Selig for having a salary that high, so Goodell's salary move, in comparison, looks pretty good. But, in a day and age where we are constantly re-evaluating executive pay, what do you think about these salaries?

With bank and car company CEO's required to limit their salary thanks to taking billions of dollars in government assistance money from the TARP, and many more companies weary of CEO salary watching, the salary of these two sports commissioners might actually fall in the top 25 salaries paid to CEO's next year.

Consider that fact that Selig's salary, which is from 2007, would have been the 99th highest salary for a CEO in the country that year. Apple's Steve Jobs actually made less at $14.64 million, so too did PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi made $12.74 million and Nike's Mark Parker had a salary of $12.16 million.

And a lot has obviously changed since then.

Part of me is totally OK with the salaries that Selig and Goodell earn -- though Selig's seems a bit high -- because both businesses have done well over the last couple years. Baseball's revenues are north of $6.5 billion, with the NFL's topping that. And unlike on Wall Street, where we've now just discovered that these salaries and bonuses weren't deserved, these guys are part of private businesses that reserve the right to get paid whatever they want.

I was surprised by the outrage at Selig's salary over the past couple weeks. People were reacting as if it hurt them as much as it did when they hear that their favorite team has just overpaid one of its players. Selig's salary doesn't quite have the effect on ticket prices that the latter example might, but people seem quite outraged.

So we'll ask you. For the purpose of this poll, let's assume Selig gets paid $18 million in salary and Goodell gets $11 million this year.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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