This article reviews the salaries of Utah Warriors rugby players in Major League Rugby.
We acknowledge that salaries are private contracts between players and their franchise. However, some details get around in the small world of Rugby Union in the USA.
We’ve gathered and reviewed all the information from credible sources.
How Do Utah Warriors Rugby Players Get Paid?
Before we examine the numbers, let’s look at the different ways that players can get paid.
It’s not just through club wages. Their full annual income may come from several sources. Note that some players are only compensated with wages.
The other options on this list will only apply to a subset of players in the Warriors squad.
- Monthly wages from the franchise
- Assistance with accommodation and rent
- Assistance with securing employment during the offseason
- Coaching roles within the franchise and wider community
- International match fees (these are not paid by the franchise)
Players can stay in shared accommodation arranged by the franchise.
This is popular with younger players who can live nearly rent-free if they group together to share a house near training facilities.
This is similar to what happens in academies in the big professional clubs in England and Ireland.
Of course, this doesn’t work for players with partners and children. But these players can also get some level of rent subsidy.
Experienced players may be offered coaching roles at the club. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they are involved in coaching their teammates.
They may be coaching at youth level or taking subsidized coaching roles with local amateur clubs. This will be after they’ve gone through the formal coaching courses laid out by World Rugby.
Assisting with part-time employment
There are several part-time players at the club.
The day starts with a practice session at 6.30 which allows the part-timers to go to work. They will be back at the club at 5.30 pm for another practice session.
Some Warriors don’t hold a second job during the MLR season. But the season only last seven months. This lets them take paid employment during the off-season.
One of the owners of Utah Warriors also has a big car dealership in the State. This gives opportunities for the franchise to help with part-time employment.
You can read more about the franchise structure in our article on who owns Utah Warriors.
How Did Covid Impact Salaries?
The 2020/21 Major League Rugby season was shortened due to Covid restrictions. The tournament was canceled just five weeks into the season.
It’s a credit to the league that all the franchises paid their players for the season despite the shutdown. In many other countries, professional clubs negotiated with their players to take a 10-25% pay cut.
Cynics might point out that the salaries are very low in the MLR already.
But that doesn’t mean that the franchise owners shouldn’t get credit for treating their players well in a tough time for everybody.
What Do Utah Warriors Rugby Players Get Paid?
If you check out our general round-up of salaries in Major League Rugby, you’ll see that the star players can earn up to $45K.
However, the Utah Warriors haven’t focused on signing big-name players from overseas.
They do have talented players from the southern hemisphere alongside players from Ireland and the United Kingdom. But none of these players had years of experience at the top level of their domestic competitions.
Average salaries for rugby players with Utah Warriors
The senior rugby players at Utah Warriors earn from $25K-$30K per season.
Mid-range players with several years experience are on $14K-$20K.
Less experienced players are paid about $10K for the season.
The lowest pay is for part-time players paid on a pay-to-play basis at minimum wage.
These salaries may seem low if you are familiar with contracts in other countries. I’ll give you some comparisons at the end of this article.
MLR Salary Cap
Major League Rugby franchises are not allowed to exceed an agreed cap on the total salaries for their squad. The level is currently $500K.
Any franchise can increase its cap by participating in a set of player and community development activities.
It’s been confirmed that the Utah Warriors hit the targets laid out by MLR.
This is due to their pathway program that includes a development team, the Utah Selects. Several players have made the step up from this structure into the full roster.
Meeting the development targets means that the Warriors cap increases by $250K.
Note that the extra budget can’t go directly on player salaries. But the club can play extra income to players who are also coaching at the development and youth levels.
How Do The Utah Warriors Afford These Salaries?
You may be wondering if the gate receipts are enough to cover player salaries. The answer is that they’re not.
One of the principal owners of the franchise is involved with a successful high-tech recruitment agency. His cousin and co-owners run a major car dealership. This helps with the budget!
You can read more in our article on the ownership of Utah Warriors.
How Does This Compare With Other Countries?
There are several South African players at the franchise. Check out our article on how much rugby players earn in South Africa.
Several players on the roster played underage for Ireland. Check out our article on player salaries in Irish rugby.
One of these, Niall Saunders, was on the roster for Harlequins in the England Premiership. Check out our article on how much Harlequins rugby players earn.