Nick Saban recently signed a contract extension that will pay him about $11 million when a signing bonus is taken into account. But according to al.com, the Alabama coach only makes $245,000 in base salary. That's what he makes to coach the team. There are lots of bonuses, however, like that signing bonus. And bonuses for bowl appearances, graduation rates, etc. But all that combined isn't equal to the biggest part of Nick Saban's salary.
The big ticket item is his "talent fee." That's the money he's paid to do the weekly TV and radio shows produced by the Alabama Crimson Tide sports network. It also includes speaking fees and promotional activities. He gets nearly $6.5 million for that every year.
In one sense, that's all perfectly logical. Alabama football is a valuable commodity not because of the butts in seats at games, but because of the advertising and marketing surrounding the program. All those people who watch Alabama football on TV, listen to the golden voice of Eli Gold on the radio (pun intended!), and basically buy in to all things 'Bama. So if they want to put $6.5 mill down as Nick Saban's "talent fee," I guess they can justify it. Because while a University president might make similar money to the coach in base salary, the University president isn't a TV/radio ratings draw. The coach is.
So in essence, Nick Saban is simply the highest paid radio personality in the state. (Sorry, Paul Finebaum).
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