NEW YORK, April 20, 2011 – World soccer powerhouses Barcelona and Real Madrid, Major League Baseball’s defending champion New York Yankees, and the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers lead this year’s list of the Top 100 best-paying sports teams in the world according to the ESPN The Magazine/SportingIntelligence Global Salary Survey, featured in the magazine’s new “All About The Money Issue” hitting newsstands this Friday, April 22.
The survey was compiled for ESPN The Magazine by SportingIntelligence.com editor Nick Harris, and encompassed 272 teams in 14 major pro leagues in seven sports. The teams covered in the survey pay out a combined US$15.2 billion in annual salaries, which are calculated from base salaries of current or most recently-completed team seasons and exclude bonuses, endorsements, appearance fees or any other source of extra compensation.
The complete list of the Top 100 teams, as well as the teams that ranked 101 through 200, can be viewed here on ESPN.com.
Topping this year’s list are two of the world’s biggest soccer clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid, with average annual salaries of $7.9 million and $$7.35 million per player, respectively (all dollar figures are U.S.). The two La Liga powers, who square off today in Spain’s Copa del Rey final, meet twice more in the next two weeks in the semifinals of the Champions League as well.
They are followed by last year’s Top 100 leader, the New York Yankees, who came in third this year with an average annual player salary of $6.75 million, four slots higher than the next highest-spending MLB team, the Boston Red Sox ($5.991 million), at number eight.
The NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers ($6.5 million per player annually) and Orlando Magic ($6.36 million per player) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, followed by Chelsea ($6.0 million) of the English Premier League at number six, Inter Milan ($5.999 million) of Italy’s Serie A at number seven, the Red Sox at number eight, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets ($5.990) at number nine, and Manchester City ($5.86 million) of the EPL in the tenth slot.
In all, nine international soccer teams, seven NBA teams and four Major League Baseball teams comprise the top 20 spots. The highest-paying team in the survey outside of those three sports is cricket’s Royal Challengers Bangalore ($4.5 million) of the Indian Premier League at number 26, three spots higher than IPL rival Kolkata Knight Riders ($4.4 million) at number 29.
NBA teams paid the highest average annual salary of any team in the survey at $4.6 million per year, while lowest average annual salaries were paid in the Canadian Football League ($97,000 per year).
The Detroit Red Wings ($2.95 million) were the highest-paying NHL team, coming in at 67th overall, while the Washington Redskins ($2.91 million) were tops among NFL teams at number 70.
The SportingIntelligence.com survey produced for ESPN The Magazine encompassed 14 major pro leagues in seven sports: Australian rules football (AFL), baseball (MLB, Nippon Professional Baseball of Japan), basketball (NBA), cricket (IPL), hockey (NHL), football (CFL, NFL) and soccer (Bundesliga, EPL, La Liga, Major League Soccer, Serie A, Scottish Premier League).
ESPN The Magazine’s “Money Issue” also features an in-depth look at the best-paid athletes in 181 countries around the world—spanning countries from Albania (soccer player Lorik Cana of Turkish club Galatasaray) to Zimbabwe (Benjani Mwaruwari of the EPL’s Blackburn Rovers) and sports from badminton (in which Lee Chong Wei tops Malaysia’s sports earning list) to yachting (Russell Coutts earns the most in New Zealand)—as well as the best-paid athletes in 30 sports.
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