Arena Football League players receive most of their compensation on a per-game basis during a season that features up to 21 games, including the playoffs. Compared to National Football League players, who average $1.9 million annually, AFL athletes receive comparatively meager compensation, measured in the tens of thousands per year.
Pay Per Game in the AFL
Under the collective bargaining agreement reached in 2012, effective through 2017, active rookies receive $775 per game for the 2014 season. This rises to $820 in 2015. The 2017 season adds another $50 raise for rookies, increasing pay to $870 per game. As of 2014, active veterans receive $830 per game. Their game salary rises to $875 in 2015 with a raise to $925 per game for 2017. Inactive veterans earn $600 per game as of 2014, rising to $625 per game in 2015 with a raise in 2017 to $650 per game.
Quarterback Bonus Pay
Quarterbacks typically form the backbone of any football team, regardless of the league in which they play. Due to their importance, and the fact that opposing defenses aim to destroy them, quarterbacks receive bonuses unavailable to players of other positions. For the 2014 season, quarterbacks earn an additional $250 per game, rising to $300 per game in 2015 and 2016. Another increase occurs in 2017, with a starting quarterback bonus of $350 per game.
Travel and Training Camp Bonuses
AFL players receive $41 a day while travelling to face opposing teams. The league adjusts this on a yearly basis to meet increases in the consumer price index. As of 2014, the league calculates rates as $7 for breakfast, $14 for lunch and $20 for dinner. In the event of a trade, AFL players get up to $500 to take care of travel costs. Veterans earn an extra $75 per week for training camp before the beginning of the season.
Signing and Promotion Bonuses
When a veteran signs a multi-year deal, they are entitled to a bonus of $750 per year for a two-year deal, distributed as an addition on top of the game salary. Veterans signing three-year deals receive a $1,000 bonus per year. Promotional appearance pay ranges from $100 for local commercial affiliates up to $250 for national commercial affiliates. Players are limited to $1,000 per year for commercial appearances.