PSG, Real, Man City And Barca Player Wages Knock Baseball Out The Park

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Paris Saint-Germain has, for the first time, come out top in Sporting Intelligence’s global sports salaries survey (GSSS) of average player wages in teams across the world’s richest sporting leagues.

The sixth edition of the GSSS, which estimates ‘average first-team pay,’ has calculated average first-team pay at PSG at $9,083,993 a year, or £5.3 million at the exchange rates at the start of the season, which equates to $174,692 per week (£101,898).

The GSSS has been dominated by soccer teams since baseball’s New York Yankees held the no 1 slot in 2010, with PSG following in the footsteps of Barcelona (top in 2011 and 2012) and Manchester City (2013 and 2014).

Real Madrid have climbed to second place this year, from fourth last year, with their players earning an average £5.04 million a year in the period under review, putting them just ahead of Manchester City in third place (on £5.01 million), Barcelona in fourth (£4.7 million) and baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers in fifth, a tiny margin ahead of Manchester United in sixth.

The survey authors point out that the best paying sports teams in the world “come from elite European football and major league US sport. And increasingly they are funded by oil.”

PSG have had their fortunes transformed by the petrodollars of oil-rich Middle East nation Qatar since 2011 when Qatar Sports Investments (an arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund) took a 70% stake, subsequently completing a full takeover in 2012 and pouring hundreds of millions of euros into the team.

Sporting Intelligence use the arithmetic mean of player salaries to determine the rankings on their list, ignoring endorsements and player sponsorships and point out that by total spending the LA Dodgers are No1 for a second straight year, and PSG are second in this regard ahead of the Yankees, Real Madrid and Manchester City. The authors point out that the total spending on first team players at these four clubs exceeds entire payroll of many leagues around the world, including the Chinese Super League soccer ($215 million), MLS ($158 million), J-League soccer in Japan ($110 million) and Scottish Premiership soccer ($76 million).

In terms of average earnings across the whole league, the NBA remained comfortably top in 2014-15 with an average salary of $4,575,918 per year (£2.67 million at the prevailing exchange rates). Cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) players are the No2 earners on $4.33 million a year on average (£2.53 million), ahead of Major League Baseball players in third. The highest paying football (soccer) league, the Premier League, had an average salary of $3.8 million (£2.23 million) in the period under review.

Another interesting finding of the report relates to the ratios between the best paid and lowest paid teams in each league as generally leagues with massive discrepancies between the best paid and worst paid teams will be less “fair” and therefore more predictable.

Across the 17 leagues, the authors find that “the biggest ratio between the best paid team and the worst paid is in the Scottish Premiership where average pay at the best-paid team Celtic was 25 times as much as at the worst-paid team Ross County. There are also enormous gulfs between the best paid clubs in Spain and France and worst paid now, by a factor of around 20 times.”

Table of average salaries across global sports – the top ten

Rank (Last yr) Team         League   Avg pay PA £   (Weekly)  Avg pay PA $   (Weekly)
1 (New)         PSG               Ligue 1    £5,298,693      (£101,898)  $9,083,993        ($174,692)
2 (4)             Real Madrid    La Liga    £5,040,520       (£96,933)   $8,641,385        ($166,180)
3 (1)             Man City         EPL        £5,015,122       (£96,445)    $8,597,844       ($165,343)
4 (5)             Barcelona       La Liga    £4,715,116      (£90,675)    $8,083,518        ($155,452)
5 (3)             LA Dodgers    MLB        £4,679,937       (£89,999)    $8,023,207        ($154,292)
6 (8)             Man United    EPL         £4,679,377       (£89,988)    $8,022,247        ($154,274)
7 (7)             Bayern       Bundesliga  £4,468,643       (£85,935)    $7,660,968        ($147,326)
8 (10)           Chelsea        EPL          £4,353,056       (£83,713)    $7,462,809        ($143,516)
9 (2)             Yankees      MLB          £4,263,577       (£81,992)    $7,309,407        ($140,566)
10 (11) Arsenal EPL £4,054,066 (£77,963) $6,950,225 ($133,658)

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Abideen Owolabi

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