What is the Highest Paid Sport in the World?

Highest Paid Sport

Everyone knows it pays to be a sports star, but if you’re going to go for the gold then you’ll need to know which sports league pays the largest salary. Once you’ve chosen your highest paying sport to excel in then you’ll need to know which team pays the highest salary!

This article is your guide to riches! Check out the tables below to find out which team you need to get signed on to become a millionaire. We give you the facts, the rest is up to you…

Highest Paying Sports in the World

Step one to riches is choosing the most profitable sport to get involved in. Below is a table of the total salaries paid out from each league to its players, and the average salaries per player as well as the median salaries per year.

American leagues dominate the charts with the top four highest-paid leagues being American

LeagueTotal SalariesAverage Salary Per PlayerMedian Salary
NBA$3,661,652,248$8,321,937$4,000,000
IPL$90,893,850$101,444 (per week)
$5,300,000 (annual pro rata)
$72,450 (per week)
MLB$3,451,005,858$4,031,549$905,000
EPL$1,967,423,750$3,966,580$2,925,000
NFL$5,524,555,998$3,257,403$1,228,053
NHL$2,069,893,259$2,688,173$1,875,000
La Liga$1,253,153,811$2,547,061$983,705
Serie A$1,220,833,350$2,231,871$1,302,084
Bundesliga$975,961,338$1,979,638$1,121,478
Ligue 1$1,038,759$1,298,449$568,898
CSL$586,713,331$1,207,229$366,364
NPB$315,061,130$875,170$547,445
MLS$288,332,177$410,730$179,998
J-League$171,263,684$326,839$136,861
SPL$77,619,509$253,659$238,990
AFL$177,788,660$252,900$107,521
CFL$35,128,459$88,708$60,050
WNBA$10,825,998$75,181$57,329

Highest Paying Sports Teams

Not all teams are created equal with the top teams leveraging huge salaries to bring in the biggest talent in the industry leaving the smaller teams to fight for what’s left.

Even though European leagues are overall not the highest paid in the world they do contain some of the most highly paid individual teams with the top three being in Spain and Italy.

Below is a table on the top-paying teams across all leagues in the world.

RankTeamLeagueAverage Annual Salary
1BarcelonaLa Liga$12,284,555
2Real MadridLa Liga$11,154,692
3JuventusSerie A$10,106,647
4Portland Trail BlazersNBA$10,039,828
5Golden State WarriorsNBA$9,921,892
6Orlando MagicNBA$9,475,757
7Oklahoma City ThunderNBA$9,432,072
8Denver NuggetsNBA$9,311,943
9Miami HeatNBA$9,298,579
10Cleveland CavaliersNBA$9,207,157
11Houston RocketsNBA$9,160,612
12PSGLigue 1$8,934,220

Highest Paying NBA Teams

European Soccer teams may dominate the top three spots as the highest paying teams in the world but the NBA dominates the charts in every other way grabbing eight out of the top twelve highest paying teams in the world.

Below is a chart ranking of all the teams in the NBA. It may surprise you to see which teams are shelling out the most dough for their talent.

RankTeamAverage Annual Salary
1Portland Trail Blazers$10,039,828
2Golden State Warriors$9,921,892
3Orlando Magic$9,475,757
4Oklahoma City Thunder$9,432,072
5Denver Nuggets$9,311,943
6Miami Heat$9,298,579
7Cleveland Cavaliers$9,207,157
8Houston Rockets$9,160,612
9Los Angeles Clippers$8,668,805
10Philadelphia 76ers$8,621,800
11Washington Wizards$8,500,330
12Detroit Pistons$8,474,594
13Charlotte Hornets$8,282,386
14Minnesota Timberwolves$8,271,517
15Milwaukee Bucks$8,168,508
16Toronto Raptors$8,150,291
17Brooklyn Nets$8,036,324
18Dallas Mavericks$7,916,790
19San Antonio Spurs$7,882,150
20Sacramento Kings$7,876,629
21Los Angeles Lakers$7,857,738
22Phoenix Suns$7,827,956
23Boston Celtics$7,806,673
24Utah Jazz$7,739,041
25New Orleans Pelicans$7,725,070
26Atlanta Hawks$7,475,199
27Indiana Pacers$7,464,208
28Chicago Bulls$7,448,034
29Memphis Grizzlies$7,091,444
30New York Knicks$7,077,811

If you’re interested in the NBA and want to get an edge on your betting strategies check out our guide on how to bet on the NBA.

For more advanced sports betting strategies read our guide on how to pick an NBA upset. 

Highest Paying MLB Teams

Not to be outdone, America’s Favorite Pastime also pays out huge salaries, but they come in behind the NFL and NBA with the highest-paid MLB team, the New York Yankees, spending as much as the twenty-sixth highest-paid NBA team when it comes to an average annual salary

This table ranks all thirty MLB teams based on average annual salary:

RankTeamAverage Annual Salary
1New York Yankees$7,692,199
2Boston Red Sox$6,955,569
3Chicago Cubs$6,394,536
4Houston Astros$6,356,051
5Philadelphia Phillies$5,853,160
6Los Angeles Angels$5,207,961
7St. Louis Cardinals$5,185,383
8Washington Nationals$5,180,900
9New York Mets$5,107,479
10Los Angeles Dodgers$5,044,326
11San Francisco Giants$4,883,050
12Atlanta Braves$4,766,113
13Colorado Rockies$4,696,500
14Milwaukee Brewers$3,914,998
15Cleveland Indians$3,649,651
16Minnesota Twins$3,637,734
17Texas Rangers$3,444,293
18Seattle Mariners$3,297,977
19Detroit Tigers$3,123,950
20Cincinnati Reds$3,074,254
21San Diego Padres$2,966,369
22Chicago White Sox$2,821,310
23Oakland Athletics$2,765,661
24Arizona Diamondbacks$2,529,110
25Baltimore Orioles$2,315,417
26Kansas City Royals$2,232,184
27Miami Marlins$2,066,086
28Tampa Bay Rays$1,975,527
29Toronto Blue Jays$1,926,425
30Pittsburgh Pirates$1,690,764

If you’re interested in the NBA and want to get an edge on your betting strategies check out our video guide on how to bet on MLB.

Highest Paying NFL Teams

The NFL pays out the highest amount of total salaries in the world with a whopping collective of $5,524,555,998 in 2019! This $5,524,555,998 is shared among all 1,696 players in the NFL making the overall average salary for a player in the NFL $3,257,403.

With each team in the NFL playing sixteen games a season that is an average of $203,587 per game played. That kind of income can buy a lot of cheeseburgers.

Below is a chart listing the annual salaries of all the teams in the NFL:

RankTeamAverage Annual Salary
1Atlanta Falcons$4,706,057
2Philadelphia Eagles$3,908,900
3Minnesota Vikings$3,750,110
4Pittsburgh Steelers$3,745,321
5New Orleans Saints$3,693,831
6Green Bay Packers$3,647,120
7New York Jets$3,633,790
8Detroit Lions$3,573,515
9San Francisco 49ers$3,469,837
10Tampa Bay Buccaneers$3,385,163
11Tennessee Titans$3,342,081
12Oakland Raiders$3,327,042
13Buffalo Bills$3,273,291
14Denver Broncos$3,256,686
15Jacksonville Jaguars$3,234,333
16New England Patriots$3,208,486
17Los Angeles Rams$3,177,835
18Seattle Seahawks$3,165,824
19Arizona Cardinals$3,156,908
20Cleveland Browns$3,151,363
21Cincinnati Bengals$3,103,443
22Houston Texans$3,077,228
23Carolina Panthers$3,051,553
24Chicago Bears$3,007,179
25Kansas City Chiefs$2,992,991
26New York Giants$2,992,702
27Dallas Cowboys$2,973,979
28Baltimore Ravens$2,894,360
29Indianapolis Colts$2,888,681
30Washington Redskins$2,765,193
31Los Angeles Chargers$2,630,672
32Miami Dolphins$2,051,431

If you’re interested in the NBA and want to get an edge on your betting strategies check out our video guide on how to bet on the NFL.

Highest Paying MLS Teams

Given Major League Soccer’s popularity deficit in the US is it not surprising that financially they are well behind other more established leagues such as the NFL and NBA when it comes to salaries, but when it comes to popularity Soccer is a rising star.

According to a study reported on by Forbes MLS has experienced a 27% rise in popularity since 2012 with more and more high schools across the nation opting to create soccer programs every year. This rise in popularity coupled with younger generations having an exciting new alternative to football will continue the growing trend of soccer’s overall popularity in the US

The competitive nature of Americans will inevitably lead to MLS teams one day going overseas with greater frequency to test their mettle against the well established “old guard” teams of the European leagues.

Here is a chart listing the overall average annual salaries in MLS:

RankTeamAverage Annual Salary
1Toronto FC$758,346
2LA Galaxy$654,129
3Chicago Fire$611,249
4LAFC$509,998
5Seattle Sounders FC$488,515
6Portland Timbers$464,960
7Montreal Impact$438,409
8Orlando City SC$418,858
9Sporting Kansas City$418,858
10New England Revolution$418,858
11Atlanta United$404,910
12Minnesota United$379,732
13DC United$377,603
14New York City$371,985
15Columbus Crew$366,021
16Real Salt Lake$358,638
17San Jose Earthquakes$358,638
18Philadelphia Union$338,887
19Colorado Rapids$307,143
20Houston Dynamo$301,547
21New York Red Bulls$298,929
22FC Cincinnati$289,846
23FC Dallas$282,925
24Vancouver Whitecaps$271,738

If you’re interested in the NBA and want to get an edge on your betting strategies check out our video guide on how to bet on the MLS.

Highest Paying NHL Teams

The NHL’s players aren’t the only thing that is aggressive about the NHL, their total average salaries come in at fourth place overall with a total paid out of $2,069,893,259 in 2019.

The chart below lists the annual salaries of all NHL teams in order of the highest annually paid.

RankTeamAverage Annual Salary
1Minnesota Wild$3,317,500
2Pittsburgh Penguins$3,278,428
3St Louis Blues$3,187,600
4Nashville Predators$3,162,841
5Vegas Golden Knights$3,121,731
6Colorado Avalanche$3,093,021
7Buffalo Sabres$3,067,500
8Winnipeg Jets$3,062,847
9Florida Panthers$3,055,926
10Calgary Flames$3,048,261
11New Jersey Devils$2,965,521
12Columbus Blue Jackets$2,919,070
13Carolina Hurricanes$2,910,909
14Anaheim Ducks$2,825,481
15Philadelphia Flyers$2,822,391
16Arizona Coyotes$2,758,250
17Dallas Stars$2,708,750
18Detroit Red Wings$2,674,600
19New York Islanders$2,642,222
20Chicago Blackhawks$2,519,268
21Tampa Bay Lightning$2,474,271
22New York Rangers$2,419,091
23Edmonton Oilers$2,405,268
24Washington Capitals$2,403,173
25Boston Bruins$2,382,981
26San Jose Sharks$2,374,583
27Los Angeles Kings$2,330,200
28Ottawa Senators$2,161,019
29Montreal Canadiens$2,088,796
30Vancouver Canucks$2,021,771
31Toronto Maple Leafs$1,537,586

If you’re interested in the NBA and want to get an edge on your betting strategies check out our video guide on how to bet on the NHL.

Highest Paying WNBA Teams

The WNBA has historically had a payment gap from their colleagues in the NBA and that issue does not seem to be going away anytime soon. Players in the NBA made on average three hundred and thirty-eight times as much money as their colleagues in the WNBA.

There are only twelve teams in the WNBA compared to the thirty in the NBA with the highest-paid team in the WNBA collecting an annual average salary of $81,709 compared to the highest-paid team in the NBA, the Portland Trail Blazers, who bring in an impressive $10,039,828 salary on average. 

Inevitably this pay gap brings to light issues of a gender pay gap and those concerns are valid but there is also the fact that realistically the WNBA is not as popular as the NBA. Players in the MLS also have a revenue problem that is tied to their popularity issues. Hopefully, in time both the WNBA and MLS will increase their popularity in the coming years and decades. 

Below is a chart showing every team in the WNBA and the average annual salary they received in 2019:

RankTeamAverage Annual Salary
1Phoenix Mercury$81,709
2Chicago Sky$80,421
3Atlanta Dream$79,098
4Washington Mystics$78,433
5Connecticut Sun$77,820
6Las Vegas Aces$77,624
7Los Angeles Sparks$76,477
8Seattle Storm$74,757
9Minnesota Lynx$74,217
10New York Liberty$70,720
11Indiana Fever$67,669
12Dallas Wings$63,221

All of the figures in this article are sourced from the Global Sports Salaries Survey 2019, Sportingintelligence.