Tim Sperliotis

The Usain Bolt situation continues to make headlines, with latest reports suggesting that the Jamaican will reject the Central Coast Mariners’ offer.

The contract is believed to be much lower than Bolt expected, and the gold medallist has not been taking part in recent training sessions.

While Bolt may not have the footballing ability compared to others, if a move is successful it could have financial benefits for the Mariners.

 

Let’s look at the pros and cons of the deal:

Bolt should accept the deal

Usain Bolt is not a footballer and going by the two friendly matches he has played, there are other players who can offer more to the team. He has scored two goals in these matches, including a decent finish against Macarthur South West, however it is clear that there is a lot of work to do.

The contract offer has reported to be around $150,000 which is generous for someone who has never played an official football match. A player with the same footballing ability simply would not be offered such a contract. However, being an Olympic gold medallist brings the large fee to the table.

Bolt is asking for a lot more than the initial offer; however, a fee of that size needs to be used on a quality player. Adrian Mierzejewski, Leroy George and Besart Berisha are just a few names that have lit up the league in recent seasons – these are the kinds of players who need to be offered big sums.

Bolt is very lucky to have been offered the contract and is why he should accept the deal. His speed is an important attribute to have as a footballer, and he may improve in the coming months. However, if he wants to live his dream as a footballer, he needs to start wherever he is offered a contract. It is highly unlikely that top European club would sign someone with limited football experience, especially given his age.

Mariners should offer what Bolt wants

Signing Bolt has the potential to bring financial rewards to the club.

The first major source of income would be from jersey sales. Bolt is a big name and many fans, possibly from around the world, would want to wear the gold medallist’s jersey. Jerseys with Bolt’s name and number were on sale at the Mariners’ friendly match against Macarthur South West at Campbelltown Stadium.

In addition, the league may receive financial returns from television rights.

In 2012, the signing of Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero to Sydney FC saw Sydney FC matches broadcasted live to Italian TV. Bolt playing football is a novelty factor that could see lots tune in from around the world to watch the former Olympian. In addition, this would give the Mariners worldwide exposure, something which would be very valuable for the Gosford side.

Finally, the Mariners attendances could rise as a result of Bolt’s signature. It is not often that an Olympian decides to pursue a career in football and fans may want to witness this. However, it most likely would only have an effect for the first year and the hype could subside in the second year.

 

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While the financial benefits would help the club, the Mariners should stick to their guns and offer what they believe is right. There is a chance that Bolt may improve and light up the field in the near future, however $3 million for an athlete with limited football experience may be detrimental to the Mariners. Their manager Mike Mulvey is a championship winning coach and the Mariners will surprise many this season. Ultimately, it is up to him if he wants to sign Bolt and the Mariners must make sure that it is not a distraction this season. ​

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Tim Sperliotis
tsperliotis@gmail.com