Basketball and Baseball Players – and Cricketers – Paid Higher Average Wages Than Footballers

  • NBA players are highest paid in the world.
  • Premier League comes in 4th.
  • Barcelona has the highest wages bill in soccer.

Footballers may get all the big headlines around the world but they’re still the poor relatives of basketball and baseball players in the United States – and cricketers in India!

Basketball players in the NBA have the highest average wages at £5.5m each this season. Baseball’s MLB players are next as a group on £3.4m, followed by Indian Premier League cricketers when weekly pay is pro-rated, at £3m a year.

The pollsters consider the pay of more than 12,000 sportsmen and women at 465 teams in nine sports across 29 of the richest and most popular leagues.

The Premier League’s £2.64m annual pay is still well ahead of levels in Spain’s La Liga (£1.68m), Italy’s Serie A (£1.33m) Germany’s Bundesliga (£1.26m, up due to a new TV deal), and France’s Ligue 1 (£944,405, mainly because of PSG’s huge outlay).

The average Premier League wage has risen above £50,000 per week for the first time — a global first for any football league.

But while average yearly pay in the 2017-18 season in England’s top division is now £2,642,508 (or £50,817 per week), the world’s three best-paid clubs come from Spain and France.

Barcelona of La Liga top football’s list according to the 2017 global sports salaries survey  with average first-team pay of almost £6.6m a year.

The Barca numbers include Lionel Messi’s £500,000-per-week contract extension to 2021, agreed in July but only signed a few days ago.

Paris Saint-Germain, who sensationally signed Neymar from Barca last summer, are breathing down their necks on almost £6.5m a year, and rising fast.

If PSG have a successful campaign on the field and splash big bonuses, they would likely overtake the Catalan club. Real Madrid are third on £6.2m.

Best paying English clubs are Manchester United and Manchester City, in that order, but only just. They are both on around £5.2m per player per year, or £100,000 per week basic average, across their squads.

As with Barca and PSG, the on-field fortunes of the Manchester pair will likely dictate which has the biggest total wage bill for 2017-18. Success and trophies for one club while the other won nothing, for example, would result in a higher bill through performance-related payments and bonuses.

United were the best-paid team in the world last season but some big contracts since then have either been downsized (Zlatan Ibrahimovic) or cut (Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger) without big replacements.

The Premier League has four of the best paid 10 clubs in the world and nine of the top 20. Germany’s Bayern Munich and Italy’s Juventus are just behind the Manchester duo and ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal, in turn ahead of Atletico Madrid at No 10. Liverpool, Tottenham, West Ham, Everton and Leicester all make the top 20. Milan, Inter and Roma from Italy as well as Dortmund from Germany and Valencia from Spain have all been boosted by the exchange rate.

The Premier League’s £50,000 per week landmark is put in context by the weekly average in La Liga (£32,309), Serie A (£25,492), Bundesliga (£24,142) and Ligue 1 (£18,162).


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