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

League Total Salaries Average Salary Per Player Median 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.

Rank Team League Average Annual Salary
1 Barcelona La Liga $12,284,555
2 Real Madrid La Liga $11,154,692
3 Juventus Serie A $10,106,647
4 Portland Trail Blazers NBA $10,039,828
5 Golden State Warriors NBA $9,921,892
6 Orlando Magic NBA $9,475,757
7 Oklahoma City Thunder NBA $9,432,072
8 Denver Nuggets NBA $9,311,943
9 Miami Heat NBA $9,298,579
10 Cleveland Cavaliers NBA $9,207,157
11 Houston Rockets NBA $9,160,612
12 PSG Ligue 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We've been featured on:
espn logo
reuters logo
cbs-news logo
forbes logo
entrepreneur logo
We only list licensed sportsbooks
800 gambler black logo dmca logo gig media power affiliate ranking gig media igb best casino affiliate winner

© Rebel Penguin ApS 2022 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)

We support responsible gambling. If you feel like you're losing control over your gambling experience, call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ, PA, WV), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), 1-800-522-4700 (NV), 1-800-522-4700 (CO, TN), 1-855-2CALLGA (IL), 1-800-270-7117 (MI).

WSN.com is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.

Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.