Gary Ablett will earn $86,000 a match during the 2011 AFL season after quitting Geelong for Gold Coast.
Endorsements and third-party deals could push the Australian Football League star’s salary beyond $2 million a season.
The 26-year-old star has agreed to a five-year deal believed to be about $1.6 million a year but some reports put it as high as $1.9 million per season.
Gold Coast mayor Ron Clarke said:
”Put it this way, it’s the kingdom of opportunities, the Gold Coast. A lot of fortunes are made here and he could be well entrenched in that. I don’t think we can underestimate his importance. There are limits to what you can pay him, but he is worth a lot more than we will be able to pay.”
Clarke believes the Gold Coast Suns will be worth $250 million a season in economic benefit, with Ablett representing a quarter of that figure.
AFL rules restrict the size of non-salary cap payments, but Ablett’s massive drawing power in an emerging market means the Suns and league can justify lucrative deals.
Star player Ablett’s defection to Gold Coast has left Geelong reeling.