Spanish La Liga champions FC Barcelona have become the highest paying team in any sport, according to a new survey publishing teams’ average first-team salaries. Manchester United are the only Premier League club among the top 10 of the highest paid sides in the world while there are six NBA representatives
Barcelona are the first sports team to pay its players an average salary of more than £10 million (Sh1.3 billion) per year, according to the Global Sports Salaries Survey.
The Spanish giants have moved back to the top of the rankings for the 2018-19 season with an average yearly player salary of £10.46 million (Sh1.37 billion) excluding bonuses, a figure that translates to a staggering first-team pay average of £201,043 (Sh26.3 million) per week.
The Barcelona figure has risen significantly in the past 12 months, largely due to Lionel Messi’s new £50 million (Sh6.5 billion) per year contract. Extensions have also been given to the like of Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique, while big money signings such as Phillipe Coutinho and Arthur will have had a major impact.
2. Real Madrid
Real Madrid have risen to second on the list with an average first-team salary of £8.1 million (Sh1 billion) per year, despite offloading their single biggest wage bill expense by selling superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus in a £99.2 million (Sh13 billion) deal last summer.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
NBA maintained its status as the highest-paying sports league in the world thanks to an average yearly salary of $7.8 million (Sh772 million) with six franchises on the top 10 list. Russell Westrbook-led Oklahoma City Thunder are the top NBA team on the list and third overall, paying their players £7.85 million (Sh1 billion) on average.
4. Golden State Warriors
NBA champions Golden State Warriors are fourth on the list with an average yearly outlay of £7.8 million (Sh1 billion). The Warriors have NBA big names such as Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant on their books and it is no surprise as the former earns a gross pay of around $34 million (Sh3.4 billion) yearly while the latter takes home $26.5 million (Sh2.65 billion) annually.
5. Washington Wizards
Wizards, who have lost 12 of their 19 games this season, have made history by becoming the first franchise in any American sport to give their players an average basic salary of more than $10 million (Sh1 billion) per year.
Forward Otto Porter and shooting guard Bradley Beal are the Wizards top earners and took home $26 million (Sh2.6 billion) and $25.4 million (Sh2.54 billion) last season but they are set to be overtaken by point guard John Wall who will rake in $37.8 million (Sh3.78 billion) at the end of this season after signing a new four-year contract worth $141 million (Sh14 billion).
6. Toronto Raptors
Canadian NBA side Toronto, who recently signed forward Kawhi Leonard from San Antonio Spurs on a yearly salary of $20 million (Sh2 billion), also made the list due to their annual average payout of $9.97 million (Sh997 million).
Toronto made it to the list largely due to the $31 million (Sh3.1 billion) and $21.6 million (Sh2.16 billion) they shelled out to Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, their two top earners respectively last year.
7. Houston Rockets
Houston, who pays out an average annual salary of $9.85 million (Sh985 million), are seventh on the list especially with big shots Chris Paul and James ‘Beard’ Harden on their books. Point guard Paul is their top earner and is set to make $35.6 million (Sh3.56 billion) this season while shooting guard Harden will rake in $30.43 million (Sh3 billion) at the end of the campaign.
8. Miami Heat
Miami, who re-signed veteran point guard Dwayne Wade who won three NBA Championships with them in 2002, 2006 and 2014, pay an average annual salary of $9.2 million (Sh920 million).
Wade’s return will see him reunited with Chris Bosh who takes home $26.8 million (Sh2.68 billion) annually, hoping to rekindle the kind of form that saw them win the title in 2014 alongside superstar LeBron James who left them for Cleveland Cavaliers three years ago before his switch to Los Angeles Lakers this season.
Italian giants Juventus, who signed Real Madrid’s previous highest earner Cristiano Ronaldo during the summer, are one of two other football clubs in the NBA-dominated top 10 at ninth spot with $8.85 million (Sh885 million) shelled out on players annually.
Ronaldo is earning an incredible $36 million per season in Turin, making the five-time Ballon d’Or and Champions League winner by far the biggest earner in Serie A. He earns more than three times as much as anyone else in the league.
10. Man United
Manchester United, who pay their first-team stars an average of £6.53 million (Sh855 million) per year, are the only Premier League club to make the top 10.
Alexis Sanchez is United’s top earner on reportedly £500,000 (Sh65 million) per week and the figures do not reflect well on manager Jose Mourinho, who consistently claims his club cannot compete with the financial clout of cross-city rivals Manchester City.