Barcelona became the first sports team in history with an average first-team salary of over £ 10million per year, according to the latest global sports salary survey, which also shows how much wages are increasing in all sports.
This season, the Spanish champions will pay their 23-man squad an average of £ 10.45million, before bonuses, a figure that has risen by a third since 2017-18. Much of this is due to the signing of Lionel Messi in a new deal that earns him over £ 50million a year, although the signing of Phillippe Coutinho, Arthur, Malcom and Arturo Vidal, and the handing over of Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti and Sergio Busquets lucrative extensions also dramatically inflated the payroll.
Real Madrid are second in the GSS survey – which tracks salaries across 349 teams across eight sports in 13 countries – with its first-team players earning an average of £ 8.1million a year. The next six spots are occupied by NBA teams, with the Oklahoma Thunder in third (£ 7.85million) and the Golden State Warriors (£ 7.82million) in fourth.
Manchester United (£ 6.53million) are the highest British club in the survey in 10th place, one place behind Juventus who dropped from 32nd to ninth place after signing Cristiano Ronaldo. Manchester City (£ 5.93million) are the second highest Premier League club in 20th position, with Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all in the top 40.
The survey, which will be published on the Sporting Intelligence website on Monday, also found that the Premier League remains the richest football league in the world, with first-team players earning an average of £ 2.99million. sterling per year, or 55,714 pounds per week. This figure is 36% higher than the Premier League’s closest rival La Liga (£ 2.2million) and just under double that of Italy’s Serie A (£ 1.5million). ).
The survey highlights, for the first time, the extent of the “Premier League bonus” that clubs pay to attract and keep players – with research from football analysis firm 21st Club showing that English teams not only pay more transfer fees than their counterparts. in Spain, Italy, Germany and France on average, but often two to three times as much in average salaries for players of the same quality as well.
The investigation quotes 21st Club football intelligence official Omar Chaudhuri as saying senior Premier League club officials often tell him they feel ‘ripped off’ in the transfer market – while clubs from the continent feel an opportunity when dealing with English teams. .
“A Scandinavian team we met last year were looking to sell one of their brightest young stars to increase their income,” says Chaudhuri. “Our objective assessment of the player – based on similar players in the market – valued him at € 6-8million (£ 5.3-7.1million). “But if we sold it to an English club,” said the club’s sporting director, “maybe we could get double that.” On the contrary, he had underestimated this bonus.
English clubs usually pay too much in wages too. As Chaudhuri points out, West Ham are playing at a similar level to Girona in La Liga – and if the two were to play in a neutral venue, chances are it would be a close game. Still, the average West Ham first team salary is £ 3.2million a year, while Girona’s is £ 700,000. In other words, according to Chaudhuri, “the English team actually pay more than four times as much for the same level of performance”.
The figures, which come directly or indirectly from unions, players’ associations, players, agents, leagues or clubs, also show that cricketers in the Indian Premier League earn more per game than players in India. any other sport. According to the survey, IPL players earned an average of £ 274,624 after playing just 14 games, far ahead of second place in the NFL (£ 138,354) and Premier League (78,703 £).
Incredibly, IPL stars also earn more on average playing between early April and late May than Tottenham players during an entire English football season.
The league-by-league sections of the report highlight trends such as MLS teams not rating defenders – literally – with no defenseman among the league’s top 30 highest-paid players. The precarious state of the Chinese Super League’s finances is also explored, showing that the top teams lose huge sums of money there as they pay similar salaries at the big five European levels.
The NBA comfortably remains the highest-paid league in global sport, with average base salaries of £ 5.9million this season, while the WNBA is the highest-paid women’s league. However, the average salaries for WNBA players are £ 59,295 per year, or one-hundredth of that of their male counterparts.