It must be good to be king.
Or Commissioner of the NFL.
In a story by Street and Smith's Sports Business Daily's Daniel Kaplan, it is reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell earned $29.49 million in 2011, most of it in the form of a $22.3 million bonus.
In case you're keeping score at home, that is the same year that the league locked out the players and Goodell famously pledged to cut his salary to $1 until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached.
To compare, the highest paid player during the past NFL season was Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney, who earned $19 million.
More from Kaplan:
NFL owners nearly tripled Commissioner Roger Goodell’s compensation in '11, paying him $29.49M and likely making him the top paid commissioner in sports. The figure is in the league’s tax return, which the NFL is scheduled to file with the IRS by the end of the day Friday. Most of the pay is in the form of a $22.3M bonus, a compensation structure that will continue into the future. Goodell’s pay is now more closely tied to his performance and not largely derived from a set salary, which was $3.12M in '11. He earned $11.6M total in '10.
Goodell in '11 helped ink a 10-year labor deal and lucrative new TV contracts, so it is unclear if this '11 pay reflects a high water mark of sorts. Goodell’s aim is to dramatically increase NFL revenues, so if he is successful, it then stands to reason his compensation would remain in the mid- to high-$20M range. The NFL declined to comment on the information in the tax return, which by law it must make available if requested. The return covers the '11 season.
And how does this compare to other league commissioners? Kaplan writes:
NBA Commissioner David Stern and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig are thought to earn in the mid $20M range. MLB’s and the NBA’s tax returns are not public because they are structured as for-profit groups.