Billion-dollar Barcelona become highest paying sports team ever as new survey reveals rising wages in football, NBA
- Average pay for first teamers is US$13.4 million thanks to contract extensions for stars such as Lionel Messi
- NBA trio become the first US teams in any sport to break the US$10 million mark
Spanish La Liga champions FC Barcelona have become the highest paying team in any sport, according to a new survey publishing teams’ average first-team salaries.
The data published by Sporting Intelligence in their annual General Sports Salary Survey shows the Spanish La Liga champions top the list with an average salary of US$13,398,857.
That figure, which includes bonuses and signing-on fees, puts them ahead of rivals Real Madrid, who pay US$10.38 million per player on average.
Barcelona’s expenditure comes on the back of contract extensions for many of their star players including Lionel Messi, the best paid player in any team sport.
Despite the spiralling costs, the club is in rude financial health as they recently declared that they were the first in any sport to generate more than US$1 billion in annual revenue.
The club’s cief executive Oscar Grau told the South China Morning Post recently that he expects that figure to rise.
“In our strategic plan, we want to reach one billion euros. We are very close. This year we presented to the assembly €960 million, just 40 away. I think in the next year we are going to surpass this amount.”
The giant revenue for the 2017-18 fiscal year was thanks in part to their expansion into the Asia market.
“If we separate our revenue by continents, Asia is the first and we try to increase,” Grau said.
Italian side Juventus, who signed Real Madrid’s previous highest earner Cristiano Ronaldo during the summer, are one of two other football clubs in the NBA-dominated top 10 at ninth spot with Manchester United, the only English Premier League representative in 10th.
Last year’s highest paying sports team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, are third for 2018 despite their average wage increasing from US$9.3 million to pass the US$10 million mark.
NBA champions Golden State Warriors and the Washington Wizards have also surpassed that figure – all three franchises doing so for the first time in US sport.
The survey analysed 349 professional teams from eight sports. These were in 18 leagues across 13 countries.
The Chinese Super League has an average pay of US$1,025,451, putting it well outside of football’s top 10, which is led by the English Premier League.
England’s top flight is fourth on the list of the best paying sports leagues after the top paying NBA, Indian Premier League cricket and MLB.
Despite the outlay of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Spain’s La Liga is only the seventh best paying sports league behind the NHL and NFL.