Sports Business

Crain's releases list of 25 highest-paid Chicago athletes

Crain's releases list of 25 highest-paid Chicago athletes

Crain's Chicago Business released their latest list of the 25 highest-paid Chicago athletes this week.

Even though Derrick Rose has been shipped off to New York, a Bulls guard is still atop the list with Dwyane Wade earning the No. 1 spot.

Wade's salary comes in at $23.2 million — the largest in Chicago — but he also nets an estimated $12 million in marketing for a 2016 total income of $35.2 million.

The $35.2 million dwarfs the rest of the Chicago list as the next closest is White Sox pitcher James Shields at $21.3 million. Most of that is salary ($21 million, of which the San Diego Padres are paying a large portion of) and very little is estimated marketing ($250,00).

The Top 10 list includes three Bulls players, three Cubs, two Blackhawks, one Bears and then Shields as the only Sox representative.

Here is the complete list:

1. Dwyane Wade - $35.2 million
2. James Shields - $21.3
3. Jon Lester - $20.9
4. Jimmy Butler - $17.6
5. John Lackey - $16.4
6. Jay Cutler - $16.4
7. Jason Heyward - $15.7
8. Jonathan Toews - $15.1
9. Patrick Kane - $14.9
10. Rajon Rondo - $14.6
11. Miguel Montero - $14.6
12. Melky Cabrera - $14.2
13. Robin Lopez - $13.3
14. Kyle Long - $13
15. Ben Zobrist - $12.9
16. Jake Arrieta - $11.7
17. Alshon Jeffery - $11.4
18. David Robertson - $11.1
19. Jose Abreu - $10.3
20. Leonard Floyd - $10.2 ($9.7 million signing bonus)
21. Danny Trevathan - $10.1
22. Taj Gibson - $9.4
23. Brent Seabrook - $9.1
24. Todd Frazier - $7.8
25t. Pernell McPhee - $7.2
25t. Anthony Rizzo - $7.2

Almost a third of Rizzo's total comes from marketing ($1.8 million) with 19 different affiliated brands including Buona Beef, ESPN Radio, Jewel-Osco (remember RizzOs??) and State Farm.

Crain's Danny Ecker explains how unique it is to see Kris Bryant — one of the faces of Major League Baseball — not on the Top 25 list, but that's due to his $652,000 salary in 2016 despite monster ad deals with Express Men, Red Bull, Adidas and more.

Ecker also provides context for the athletes who were left off the list, including Chris Sale (who was traded to the Boston Red Sox), Dexter Fowler (who signed with the St. Louis Cardinals) and Jason Hammel (who is currently still a free agent). Then there are the guys who left town earlier in 2016, including Rose, Joakim Noah, John Danks, Adam LaRoche and Matt Forte.

Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa are among those who fell off the list despite retaining residence on Chicago's sports teams.

Last year's list looked like this:

1. Derrick Rose
2. Jon Lester
3. Jay Cutler
4. Jimmy Butler
5. Patrick Kane
6. Jonathan Toews
7. Joakim Noah
8. John Danks
9. Melky Cabrera
10. Adam LaRoche
11. Miguel Montero
12. David Robertson
13. Matt Forte
14. Jason Hammel
15. Pau Gasol
16. Taj Gibson
17. Pernell McPhee
18. Marian Hossa
19. Duncan Keith
20. Jose Abreu
21. Corey Crawford
22. Chris Sale
23. Anthony Rizzo
24. Lamarr Houston
25. Jermon Bushrod

Check out more insight on the list from Ecker on

Kaplan: Chet Coppock's impact on my career

Kaplan: Chet Coppock's impact on my career

The death of legendary Chicago sportscaster Chet Coppock has stoked many memories for me because of the lengthy history he and I had, particularly the huge role he played in my life. I would not be writing this nor would I be broadcasting on radio and TV without him taking me under his wing and giving an inexperienced kid from Skokie a chance to be on the air in Chicago.

Prior to entering the broadcasting profession I was a college basketball coach at Northern Illinois University from 1982-86. Like so many in the coaching profession, I lost my job when my head coach lost his job and I wondered aloud what the heck I was going to do with my life. I knew I had to be in the sports world and I knew deep down that I wanted to be on air. I started a college basketball recruiting newsletter that coaches and fans subscribed to and as I tried to market it I sent a letter to the biggest name in Chicago sports broadcasting that I could think of, Chet Coppock. He was a fixture on radio five nights a week in CHicago.

I distinctly remember walking into my house and seeing the message light blinking on my recorder. "Hey David, okay kid I'll give ya a shot! Tonight, let's talk college basketball. Bring your 'A' game! This is Chet Coppock from Coppock on Sports. Call me back!"

Wow! I was actually going to be on with the one and only Chet Coppock? The Big Rock Candy Mountain himself? I knew it was a big opportunity but I had no idea at that time that that phone call would change my life forever. Chet Coppock gave me a shot and he would become the single biggest professional influence in my career. Regularly he would have me on to talk about college basketball and the recruiting world. DePaul and Illinois basketball were hot topics.

It was always a huge thing to be on his show.

Fast forward to March of 1989. It is a Tuesday night, two days before the start of the NCAA Tournament, and I get a call from then-University of Arizona assistant basketball coach Kevin O'Neill, who was then and remains one of my closest friends in the world. K-O, as he is known, calls me in the early evening to tell me he has a great source telling him then-Michigan head basketball coach Bill Frieder is going to be named the new head coach at Arizona State the next day.

After I make a handful of phone calls to confirm the story, I call Chet.

He is on the air hosting the Doug Collins show, the head coach of the Chicago Bulls at the time. Chet comes to the phone during a commercial break and I tell him my scoop.

"I'll put you right on but if you're wrong I will bury you in this town and you will never get a broadcasting gig," Chet said. "Do you still want to come on? Do you feel confident enough in your story?"

Yes, I told him.

I go on the air, reveal the news and Collins tells me no way that is going to happen. He is a former assistant coach at Arizona State and he, like many others, did not believe the story was accurate. 

The next day the story breaks and the USA Today credits "Coppock on Sports in Chicago."

From that day forward Chet was a huge influence on my broadcasting career and he opened doors for me that I would never have been able to open myself.  Without him I would never be doing what I am doing today.

Rest in peace my friend. You will always be remembered as a legend.

NBC Sports Chicago announces multi-year media rights deal with White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks

NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago announces multi-year media rights deal with White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks

STAMFORD, Conn., and CHICAGO, Ill. – January 2, 2019 – NBC Sports Chicago and the White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks today announced a multi-year media rights deal that provides NBC Sports Chicago with exclusive local, multi-platform media rights to present game coverage of all three teams starting with the 2019-2020 season. The deal is subject to formal documentation and pending MLB, NBA and NHL approval.

NBC Sports Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago+ will be the exclusive regional home for all regular season games, pre-season/spring training, and the first round of post-season coverage for the Bulls and Blackhawks. This new agreement also enables the continuation of all games to be streamed on and the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

“The Chicago White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks have provided countless memorable moments for this city’s fans, and NBC Sports Chicago has been dedicated to immersive coverage of each and every one,” said David Preschlack, President, NBC Sports Regional Networks and Platform & Content Strategy. “This is a significant agreement, and we are proud to continue to provide the most comprehensive, multi-platform coverage of these historic franchises.”

“We are very pleased to extend our relationship with our partners at NBC Sports Chicago,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls/White Sox Chairman. “In addition to being the experts in consistently delivering the finest game and surrounding game coverage in the business, it is their year-round commitment to providing our fans with innovative and entertaining multi-platform content that makes NBC Sports Chicago among the very best in the regional sports industry. Chicago sports fans are the greatest, and we are pleased that this agreement allows for the very best access to Bulls, Blackhawks and White Sox live action and content.”

“Blackhawks fans should be very excited that we are continuing our partnership with NBC Sports Chicago. In addition to raising the bar on our game day broadcasts, NBC Sports Chicago has elevated non-game day television coverage and evolved their digital and social media platforms into some of the most viewer-friendly in the industry,” said Rocky Wirtz, Chicago Blackhawks Chairman.