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Sports Abacus: Commission Structured Salary

I get a common question from those curious about what they will make if they work in professional sports. My answer is, it varies on the situation.

Working in professional sports means that you will deal with a base salary plus commission. While this income structure isn’t as prevalent in the world of collegiate athletics, it is a likely scenario down the road as revenue becomes more important in the college sports space.

Professional sports, however, is all about the commission structure.

This means that whether you are a stadium operations manager or the director of marketing or the receptionist, you are in ticket sales. It is the main driver for how most professional teams make their revenue. Especially in the minor leagues where, aside from corporate sales, ticket revenue is an end-all for how the team generates a profit. Concessions, parking and merchandise per caps are great, but if fans aren’t buying tickets, none of the rest happens.

And that means everyone has to be sell in order to achieve that revenue goal of team profits annually.

Professional sports entry level jobs may vary on the base by a small amount, but I chose to use an $18,000 annual category. I feel it fits within the system of the commission structure. That’s $1,100 per month pre-tax along with whatever commissions off of ticket sales you can earn.

Not a lot, but it sure does motivate those who want to work in sports on selling tickets.

Commission percentages also matter. Not all commissioned structures are the same. Some commissions can be high as 6 percent or as low as 2 percent. The more difficult the property is to more, the higher the commission on each sale.

Teams don’t give away great commissions on easy products to sell at the ballpark.

I decided to set up five different scenarios with a commissioned sales structure. Showcasing exactly what a rep earns if they sold at least $250,000 worth of tickets and worked down to $50,000 total annually in sales.

Keep in mind that minor league baseball inventory in premium seating can be moved at $3,000 to $800 on each price point. Sell 83 premium seats at $3,000 each and you’ll make that $250,000 mark.

There are two factors which can hamper getting a high-five for selling that amount of seats:

First, there may only be 500 to 1,000 worth of inventory of that entire price point to sell at $3,000. Which means that if there are multiple sellers of that product, you are now competing against your other sales agents in order to move it first.

Second, it depends on whether you are earning 6 percent or 2 percent on those $3,000 premium seat sales. You may clear 83 seats and yet earn far less at 2 percent commission than you would at 6 percent.

And before you decide to have plans of buying a nice car, you might want to recall that there is an entity both at the state and federal level that takes off the top whatever you earn in the form of taxes.

To account for this, I calculated out a 10, 15 and 20 percent tax bracket scenario to showcase what you may have removed from your paycheck prior to receiving it. Some of this may help factor in state income taxes which in California (13.3 percent) are brutal if you don’t expect them.

 

Sales Commission Total Plus Base 10% Tax 15% Tax 20% Tax
$250,000 6% $15,000 $33,000 $3,300 $4,950 $6,600
$200,000 6% $12,000 $30,000 $3,000 $4,500 $6,000
$150,000 6% $9,000 $27,000 $2,700 $4,050 $5,400
$100,000 6% $6,000 $24,000 $2,400 $3,600 $4,800
$50,000 6% $3,000 $21,000 $2,100 $3,150 $4,200

 

Sales Commission Total Plus Base 10% Tax 15% Tax 20% Tax
$250,000 5% $12,500 $30,500 $3,050 $4,575 $6,100
$200,000 5% $10,000 $28,000 $2,800 $4,200 $5,600
$150,000 5% $7,500 $25,500 $2,550 $3,825 $5,100
$100,000 5% $5,000 $23,000 $2,300 $3,450 $4,600
$50,000 5% $2,500 $20,500 $2,050 $3,075 $4,100

 

Sales Commission Total Plus Base 10% Tax 15% Tax 20% Tax
$250,000 4% $10,000 $28,000 $2,800 $4,200 $5,600
$200,000 4% $8,000 $26,000 $2,600 $3,900 $5,200
$150,000 4% $6,000 $24,000 $2,400 $3,600 $4,800
$100,000 4% $4,000 $22,000 $2,200 $3,300 $4,400
$50,000 4% $2,000 $20,000 $2,000 $3,000 $4,000

 

Sales Commission Total Plus Base 10% Tax 15% Tax 20% Tax
$250,000 3% $7,500 $25,500 $2,550 $3,825 $5,100
$200,000 3% $6,000 $24,000 $2,400 $3,600 $4,800
$150,000 3% $4,500 $22,500 $2,250 $3,375 $4,500
$100,000 3% $3,000 $21,000 $2,100 $3,150 $4,200
$50,000 3% $1,500 $19,500 $1,950 $2,925 $3,900

 

Sales Commission Total Plus Base 10% Tax 15% Tax 20% Tax
$250,000 2% $5,000 $23,000 $2,300 $3,450 $4,600
$200,000 2% $4,000 $22,000 $2,200 $3,300 $4,400
$150,000 2% $3,000 $21,000 $2,100 $3,150 $4,200
$100,000 2% $2,000 $20,000 $2,000 $3,000 $4,000
$50,000 2% $1,000 $19,000 $1,900 $2,850 $3,800

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ep. 229 - Christopher Kaufman (Coordinator of Ticket Operations And Sales, University of South Dakota)

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