Do players have pension benefits or retirement plans?

Unlike other employees, they can't work until the age of 65 and usually have a second career after they retire from their sport, generally before the age of 40.

Is there something official?

  • Does this question refer to athletes in the tagged leagues only? ... all american leagues/sports associations? or globally? – posdef Jan 16 '13 at 17:15

All major leagues in USA have Players Association who have official pension benefits plan for their players.
Those plans contain retirement benefits and other rights.

The players are eligible for a pension from the players association league they belong in:

1) National Football League Players Association

Full NFL pension plan

The NFL Players Association retirement plan package includes four plans:

  1. Severance Pay Plan: A player with two credited NFL seasons (on the active roster, injured reserved or physically unable to perform list for three games in each of two seasons), receives $10,000 for every year played between 1993 and 1999 and $12,500 for every year from 2000 on.

  2. Player Annuity Program: A player with four credited NFL seasons receives an annuity valued at $65,000 at age 35 or five years after his last credited season, whichever is later.

  3. Second-Career Savings Plan or 401(K): A player with two credited seasons will receive a $2 match for every $1 contributed to the plan up to a maximum club contribution of $20,000 per year.

  4. Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Retirement Plan (pension): A player with at least three credited seasons earns a benefit credit for every season he plays. The benefit credits add up to monthly pension checks that player receive starting at age 55.

2) National Basketball Players Association (NBPA)

Full NBA pension plan

The pension plan in the NBA is calculated as $306 for every month in the NBA.

For example Gary Payton played in the NBA for 17 seasons or 204 months. 204x306=62,424. Gary Payton's pension will be $62,424 per year or $5,202 per month. A player with only three years in the NBA would get $11, 016 per year or $918 per month.

The pension is eligable to players strating the age of 50, A player can opt to collect the pension at the age of 45 but only 2/3 of what it would be at 50.
The minimum season to be eligible to NBA pension is three seasons of playing.

3) Major League Baseball Players Association

Full MLB pension plan

Arguably, Major League Baseball (“MLB”) offers one of the best pension and healthcare programs in all of sports. Players vest in their pensions after 43 days on the active roster and just one day qualifies a player for lifetime healthcare. Playing isn’t even a requirement, benchwarmers may qualify for benefits as well. After 43 days, players qualify for the minimum benefit of $34,000 per year and those with 10 years of service receive a pension of approximately $100,000 annually. In 2010, the MLB Players’ Pension Plan reported assets of over $1.3 billion for approximately 8,200 participants.

4) National Hockey League Players Association

Full NHL pension plan

21.2. Basic Plan Benefits.

(a) Each player entitled to a full credited year of service for the 1993/94 playing season and thereafter shall have allocated and credited to an account established in his name, for his sole benefit, the following:

(i) for players who have received credit for less than 400 games played, the amount of $8,000 CDN per year; and

(ii) for players who have received credit for 400 games played or more, the amount of $12,500 CDN per year.

Sources: 1 2 3 4 5

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