US teams from Major League baseball and the NBA fill 11 places among the top 20 best-paid teams in global sports according to a new study to be published today. EPL soccer team Manchester City are No 1 in the list, with their players earning an average of $8.1m per season each, but the New York Yankees ($8m) and LA Dodgers ($7.8m) are No2 and No3 and there are places in the top 20 for nine other American teams.
The Brooklyn Nets are at No 6 and the Chicago Bulls at No 9 with the New York Knicks, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Miami Heat, San Francisco Giants and LA Lakers all featuring high in the list.
The Global Sports Salaries Survey (GSSS), produced for ESPN The Magazine, has been tracking comparative pay at major sports teams for five years. The Nets have surged year-on-year in the list from No 16 to No 6 thanks to the largesse of Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov.
Not only is Prokhorov footing the Nets’ $102m total payroll in 2013-14, or $6.8m per player this season, but he will need to pay an additional $70m or thereabouts in luxury tax for exceeding the NBA’s wage cap.
The GSSS looks solely at earnings for playing sport, not for endorsements or other extra-curricular activities. The 2014 report considers 294 teams in 15 leagues in 12 countries across seven different sports: soccer, baseball, basketball, football, hockey, cricket and Australian Rules football. The report looks at numbers from either current or most recently completed seasons, depending on availability of accounts and other information.
The NBA, NHL and NFL numbers are for seasons 2013-14 and the MLB data from the opening-day payrolls for 2014. The unique metric in the study is ‘average first-team’ pay, or the total payroll divided by the players in the ‘first-team’ squad, roughly equivalent to the active roster.