Let us start with the closing of the transfer window in the Premier League. A few players chose to move because they wanted to play football. Specifically, they wanted to play club football to boost their chances of playing international football in France this summer. Some moved down a division. Some took a financial hit. One could try to make the argument that these were decisions to boost their long-term earning power but it is more likely that these guys just want to play. There is much to the Fleetwood Mac line that "players only love you when they are playing".
In rugby circles, the decision of Keith Earls to sign a new contract for Munster was widely welcomed. What was interesting was the way his decision was presented by the Irish rugby coach. Joe Schmidt said, “There are guys giving up good sums of money to stay where they are, to play for their country and play for their province and I think it’s one of the fantastic things that is still slightly amateur about rugby ... ". While a sceptic might note that Earls was threatening to leave in return for better terms, it is probably fair to say he could earn more in England or France.
In the amateur world of gaelic games, the GAA released details on their 2015 revenue. The total was €56m. The association suggested it was relatively happy with the figure. However, the amount seems small beer when compared to the riches of the major sport on the neighbouring island. West Bromwich Albion were the Premier League team with the lowest revenue in the latest Deloitte Football Money League. Yet, the revenue of WBA was €126m. It is more than double that of the GAA (Central Council). It is likely to always be such and it is not down to the fact that the GAA does not pay its players. In fact, one reason the GAA does not pay its players is because of the extent of the market. Two hundred and forty years ago, a Scot by the name of Adam Smith was writing about such things. He said "As it is the power of exchanging that gives occasion to the division if labour, so the extent of this division must always be limited by the extent of that power, or, in other words, by the extent of the market. When the market is very small, no person can have any encouragement to dedicate himself entirely to one employment, ..."