Friday, September 26, 2014

The cost of away games

U.S. sports leagues like to play the occasional game outside of the United States. These out-of-country games are played in an attempt to provide a worldwide audience for the league in question. For example, the National Football League (where "football" does not refer to a round ball) will play three games in Wembley Stadium in London, England this year, including this weekend's game between the Oakland Raiders and the Miami Dolphins.

However, the extensive travel and the time zone difference aren't the only issues affecting the participants, as Howard Bloom notes.

Oakland and Miami players will be hit with a 45 percent UK tax on their game check for the contest in London. Raiders who live in California will be hit with additional state taxes and lose up to 60 percent.

One shudders to think of what the tax implications would have been if a US team went to the UK in the pre-Thatcher era - the era which prompted George Harrison to pen these words.

Let me tell you how it will be,
There’s one for you, nineteen for me....

Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don’t take it all.

Howard Bloom speculates that if the NFL ever chose to field a permanent team in London, the players might demand a "tax equalization plan" to recoup income lost to taxation.

Of course, the Raiders, 49ers, and Chargers players might demand something similar because they work in high-tax California.
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