The answer is not as straight forward as you might think. According to the National Association of Violinists (NACA), the salary for a professional player is around one million dollars annually. Of that total, around 15 percent is considered a base wage and the rest is on a non-compete agreement. A professional player is usually paid in a salary plus an additional 50 percent of his endorsements. Some pros earn more and some earn less.
If you want to keep your spot on the team, some people go with the high end number. For instance, when Ryan Lochte of the United States Swimming Team was competing in the 2010 World Aquatics Championships in Glasgow, he was paid a reported $150,000 to compete. However, his sponsorship is said to be approximately $20,000.
A lot of pro sports leagues, both domestic and international, have agreements with major companies that allow their players to play professionally for very small fees. As an example, the Tampa Bay Rays are reportedly paying a $100,000 signing bonus to a player who competes as a starter for the American Professional Soccer League. The player, named as Carlos Silva, earns around $750,000 as a rookie.
As of 2013, there was some attention surrounding a number of professional leagues which paid their players fairly well. One team, the New York Knicks, paid their players on par (or at least slightly better than the average American athlete) during the 2009-10 season after paying over $3 million in guaranteed compensation to 10 players, and the Philadelphia 76ers hired an analyst named Mike Reiss Jr. to analyze their performance and how good other teams’ players are at something called the Value Over Replacement Player (VORP). According to VORPs, the league average for players is more than $3.8 million, but it only represents the amount the players are actually paid in all their years of service.
According to NACA’s numbers, there were roughly 6,000 professional violinists in the United States in 2006. Currently there are almost 100,000. If you think that statistic is a drop in the bucket, consider that about 6 million-1.8 million people are currently playing violin in the United States. These are people who have the means to pursue their dreams, but may not have the same resources available. In fact, over 30 percent of violinist are under the age of 30. There are also 2 million practicing violinists in the U.S. that do not have
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