Is baseball the highest paid sport? Everyone knows it pays to be a sports star, but if you’re going to go for the gold then you’ll need to know which sports league pays the largest salary. Once you’ve chosen your highest paying sport to excel in then you’ll need to know which team pays the highest salary!
This article is your guide to riches! Check out the tables below to find out which team you need to get signed on to earn a fortune. We give you the facts, the rest is up to you…
Highest Paying Sports in the World
Basketball is the highest paid sport in the world, with the average annual salary in the NBA in 2023 being nearly $10.5 million. This is more than double the average salary in the NFL, which sits in second place at $4.5 million.
Below is a table of the total salaries paid out from each league to its players, and the average salaries per player as well as the median salaries per year.
American leagues dominate the charts with 4 of the top 5 being in the US. European soccer leagues aren’t far behind though with the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 all making the top ten.
Highest Paying Sports Teams
Not all teams are created equal with the top teams leveraging huge salaries to bring in the biggest talent in the industry leaving the smaller teams to fight for what’s left.
NBA teams dominate this list – even more so than previous years with NBA salaries continuing to surge some soccer teams have had to scale back on player wages due the impact of COVID on their finances.
Despite that, Real Madrid top the list of the highest paying sports teams, with fellow La Liga side Barcelona also making the top ten.
Below is a table on the top-paying teams across all leagues in the world.
Highest Paying NBA Teams
Real Madrid may have the highest salary bill in all of sports but the NBA dominates the charts in every other way grabbing ten out of the top twelve highest paying teams in the world.
Below is a chart ranking of all the teams in the NBA. It may surprise you to see which teams are shelling out the most dough for their talent.
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Highest Paying MLB Teams
Not to be outdone, America’s Favorite Pastime also pays out huge salaries, but they come in behind the NFL and NBA with the highest-paying MLB team, the New York Mets, having a lower average salary than 29 of the 30 NBA teams in 2023.
Highest Paying NFL Teams
The NFL pays out the highest amount of total salaries in the world with a whopping collective of $6.7 million in 2022! This is shared among all 1,486 players in the NFL making the overall average salary for a player in the NFL just over $4.5 million.
With each team in the NFL playing seventeen games a season that is an average of $260,000 per game played. That kind of income can buy a lot of cheeseburgers.
However, the average is heavily skewed by the biggest contracts in the league. The median salary for an NFL player is $860,000, which, while still an obscene amount of money, paints a more accurate picture of the typical compensation for an NFL player.
Highest Paying MLS Teams
Given Major League Soccer’s popularity deficit in the US is it not surprising that financially they are well behind other more established leagues such as the NFL and NBA when it comes to salaries, but when it comes to popularity Soccer is a rising star.
According to a study reported on by Forbes MLS has experienced a 27% rise in popularity since 2012 with more and more high schools across the nation opting to create soccer programs every year. This rise in popularity coupled with younger generations having an exciting new alternative to football will continue the growing trend of soccer’s overall popularity in the US.
The competitive nature of Americans will inevitably lead to MLS teams one day going overseas with greater frequency to test their mettle against the well established “old guard” teams of the European leagues.
Highest Paying NHL Teams
The NHL’s players aren’t the only thing that is aggressive about the NHL, their total average salaries come in at fifth place overall with a total paid out of more than $2.5 billion in 2023.
The chart below lists the annual salaries of all NHL teams in order of the highest annually paid.
Highest Paying WNBA Teams
The WNBA has historically had a payment gap from their colleagues in the NBA and that issue does not seem to be going away anytime soon. Players in the NBA made on average three hundred and thirty-eight times as much money as their colleagues in the WNBA.
There are only twelve teams in the WNBA compared to the thirty in the NBA. The highest-paying team in the WNBA, the Chicago Sky, have an annual average salary of $124,361 compared to the top-paying NBA team, the LA Clippers, paying an impressive $13,468,019 salary on average.
Inevitably this pay gap brings to light issues of a gender pay gap and those concerns are valid but there is also the fact that realistically the WNBA is not as popular as the NBA. Players in the MLS also have a revenue problem that is tied to their popularity issues. Hopefully, in time both the WNBA and MLS will increase their popularity in the coming years and decades.
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