This article looks at the salaries of Bath rugby players in the English Premiership.
Individual salaries are private contracts and the full details aren’t made public by the club. However, several companies associated with players and their agents publish annual statistics and other details.
How Do Bath Rugby Players Get Paid?
First, let’s take a look at how the players are paid. It’s not just through club wages.
Their entire salary can be made up of several income streams:
- Monthly wages from Bath RFC
- Club win bonuses
- Brand deals, endorsements, and sponsorships
- Image rights and licensing
- Playing international test rugby
- Playing for the British & Irish Lions (every four years)
Bath pick up the tab for the monthly salary and bonuses.
Brand deals and sponsorships from third parties can be worth very different amounts across players.
This article focuses on wages paid by the club and by the RFU for capped players.
Image rights and brand deals
Image rights may be paid by club sponsors who want to use player photos in their advertising.
This varies from big brands (e.g. male grooming products) to local haulage companies. If you live in the town of Bath, you’ll often see the images of lesser-known players in local advertising campaigns.
Players have agents to negotiate endorsements and brand deals with third parties.
Academy and other younger players often use their father or another relative with some business experience.
How Have Covid Restrictions Impacted Salaries?
The 2020/21 Premiership season was curtailed due to Covid restrictions.
TV money was down due to the shortened season. Club income was also severely impacted by the drop in gate receipts.
Bath players agreed to take a 25% pay cut across the board. The players who were reluctant to do so were released by the club.
The club then negotiated with the highest-paid players to take further pay cuts.
This article uses the averages and reported salaries of more normal times. You can mentally reduce the figures by about a quarter for salaries in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic.
What Is The Average Salary Of A Bath Rugby Player?
The average salary for Bath rugby players is about £120K for senior players.
Young Bath players in their first year on a full contract earn about £40K. This will double within the next few years.
Academy players earn between £15-25K depending on their academy year.
These are average salaries but the star players are on significantly higher amounts, as I show in the next section.
However, clubs must keep their whole budget underneath the agreed salary cap for the league.
Who Are The Highest Paid Bath Rugby Players?
While the average salary for players is £120K, the range for middle-ranking players is from £70K to £140K.
The marquee players can earn over £400K. But who are the marquee players?
Bath’s highest-paid player in recent years has been Welsh backrower Taulupe Faletau. His Bath contract was reputed to be £475,000 per year.
England winger Anthony Watson is reportedly on £350,000, while centre Jonathan Joseph is a little lower at £325,000.
However, a club can only have two marquee players whose salaries are excluded from the salary cap (more on this later).
So, the salary of one of the backs is counted in Bath’s total wages that must keep under the official level.
Other players in the higher salary range
Given that the salary range for senior players is from £70K to £140K, who is at the top of the range?
Esportif publishes statistics for which positions earn the most in the Premiership. These are the top six:
- Fly half
- Locks (either 4 or 5)
- Outside centre
- Tighthead prop
We can expect that fly half Danny Cipriani is up near that top range of £140,000.
Will Stuart, the tighthead prop, has been picking up caps for England. He plays in one of the higher-valued positions in the Premiership.
This is good news for Stuart in his next contract negotiations.
English Premiership Salary Cap
English Premiership clubs are not allowed to exceed an agreed cap on the total salaries for their squad.
Clubs get extra credits for players that they bring through from their academy to a full professional contract.
They also get credits for players who are capped by England. Bath usually has several players in the 23-man squad for the national team.
How Much Do Bath Rugby Players Get For Playing For England?
All England players agreed to a cut in fees during the COVID period of 2021.
In more usual times, the match fee is about £23K for players who are selected in the 23-man squad for a match.
Players don’t get paid just for being called into camp. So if you see that an up-and-coming Bath youngster is with an England training camp, don’t assume that they’re getting an immediate bump in income.
If you want a more detailed review, read our article on how much money England rugby players make. It includes detailed comparisons to salaries in other countries.
What about selection for the British And Irish Lions?
The tour that comes around every four years can be a decent addition to a player’s salary that year. The 2021 tour paid £75K to the squad members.
This was a nice top-up for Bath players Anthony Watson and Taulupe Faletau.
If the Lions had won the 2021 series in South Africa, they would have received a £10,000 bonus. Unfortunately, they came home without the extras!
How Does Bath Rugby Afford High Salaries?
You may be wondering if the gate receipts are enough to cover these types of salaries. The answer is that they’re not.
The club shared in a one-off payment to all Premiership clubs in 2018 when they agreed to sell a minority stakeholding to the investment company CVC.
The club also has a wealthy owner who has invested significant amounts into the club. You can read more in our article on who owns Bath Rugby.