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Why do athletes make more money than soldiers?

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Supply and demand.

There are 1.5 million people in the US serving in the military.

There are only 450 NBA players on an active roster.

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Not really in this case. Everyone in army doesn't have same job. Some jobs require great training and hardly anyone can do them, but money is still not same as for an athlete or entertainer.
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It was easier to say that above than to get into all the financing regarding corporate sponsorship.
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It's how much money the people who pay them think they are worth. NBA makes a lot of money; army costs a lot of money although it is necessary for us to live safely. It really comes down to values.

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Because people will pay to watch athletes, but won't pay to watch battles.. Besides, most soldiers spend a lot more time sitting around, doing drills, etc. than they do fighting. Even if you were to broadcast an army, most people would find it very boring. (But the soldiers, going into battle, would not be bored.)

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Soldiers who are not in combat , do not sit around, they have jobs, and work at least an 8 hr. day, at their Military Occupational Status, training, cleaning, and maintaining equipment.
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Sorry, I worded that wrong. Yes, they do their "normal" jobs. My point was that these sorts of jobs are not things that people want to see on Saturday afternoon on the TV. I meant no disparagement by my comments. I apologize.
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Professional sports is big business. There are huge profits involved, the only profit in military are the selling of armaments (bombs, jets, guns/bullets); the military man does not share in that. The top brass might when they retire and start to work as advocates for those companies.

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