How Much Does An Arena Football Player Make?

How Much Does An Arena Football Player Make

Before the Arena Football League's final season in 2019, the average arena football player would start their career making around $750 per game. This number varied throughout the league based on position and tenure. For example, quarterbacks in arena football would make a $250 bonus awarded off of their importance.

Due to the changes in popularity and issues like the cancellation of the 2009 Arena Football League, the players received far less money than players in the NFL. There are few exceptions though, with the most notable case being AFL receiver T. T. Tolliver. Tolliver was a star in the AFL as he was the all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards and was able to play into his forties. He signed a $100,000 contract in his prime, capitalizing on his own talents and the league's popularity. However, as the league shrunk down to four teams, the veteran's maximum fell to around $1,500 a game. With such a low salary, it was common for players to have another part-time job.


Salary Compared to the NFL

The AFL's salaries are low in comparison to the NFL. For example, star NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes just received a $45 million-per-year contract. Meanwhile, the lower salaries in the AFL forced some players to seek other employment opportunities, making it tough to focus on improving their skills. There was hope for some AFL players to make the NFL with more than 125 players going to the NFL. One of the 125+ players to make it included Superbowl Champion and NFL MVP Kurt Warner. Warner had to work as a supermarket stock boy while he played in the AFL.

Ultimately the average salary of the AFL was far below that of the NFL, which had an average salary of $2.7 million in 2019. The discrepancy between the NFL and AFL's pay reflects the lack of popularity that the AFL had. It was mostly built off of hype and gimmicks, with a similar feel to the fanfare of professional wrestling. Meanwhile, the NFL is rich in tradition and showcases a high level of play. The Arena Football League started in 1987, while the NFL started in 1920.

IFL Salaries

Another form of arena football is the Indoor Football League. With the inaugural season in 2009, the IFL is still playing today. IFL players make a minimum of $250 dollars per game in a 14-game season. With such a young league and limited popularity, it is typical for the pay to be this low. However, there are bonuses in each sport based on performance and postseason play.

Due to the dominance of the NFL, it is hard for any other football league to excel in America. This means that it will always be extremely difficult to amass a dedicated fan base that can generate money competitively with the NFL, as shown in the past with the AFL and currently with the IFL.

FAQ

How much do arena football players make?

Arena football players entered the league making about $13,000 per season. While players like T.T. Tolliver had signed a $100,000 contract at one point, by the end of the AFL, veterans could only make a maximum of $27,000 in a season. On average, many AFL players would make around $18/hour during their season. In the IFL, players make a minimum of $250 per game.

Did any arena football players go to the NFL?

There have been over 100 AFL players who have transitioned to the NFL. One of the biggest players to do this was Kurt Warner. Originally a quarterback for the Iowa Barnstormers, Warner went on to play for the St. Louis Rams. He was able to win a Superbowl and an NFL MVP after he left the AFL. Even with a fair few players making the leap to the NFL, few have been even close to as successful as Warner was.

How much do AFL players make a year?

AFL players generally made $750 dollars per game throughout an 18 game season. As the league lost popularity, player salaries declined. There has been room for players to earn salaries as high as five to six figures, as seen with star receiver T. T. Tolliver. The veteran's maximum at the end of the AFL's run was only $1,500 per game, meaning side jobs were a necessity for an AFL player.