Recently ESPN offered a peek at one of the more fascinating charts in their never ending analytic arsenal – the results of the ESPN/SportingIntelligence Global Salary Survey. The survey, in short, ‘reveals which teams spend the most on their players, including an analysis of 333 teams in 17 major pro leagues, covering seven sports, 13 countries and 9,731 athletes who are making a combined $17.94 billion’ – per ESPN.
When broken down, the data can be used to compare team salaries versus rate of success (average wins per season), or even which league is spending the most on its athletes. For instance, according to the survey, the NBA spends the most on average per-player, at $4.6 million. The five teams with the highest payrolls include the Brooklyn Nets at an average of $6.2 million per player, the New York Knicks at $5.9 million, the Los Angeles Clippers at $5.3 million, the Sacramento Kings at $5.1 million, and Denver Nuggets at an even $5 million. Considering that three of those top five teams did not make the ongoing NBA Playoffs, and the other two are no longer in the title hunt – perhaps fans have a legitimate gripe with their favorite General Manager’s “have to spend to win” attitude.
Major League Baseball, which ranks third in league average per-player spending at $4.2 million (behind India’s IPL cricket), has several of the higher paying teams on the list, with the Magic Johnson owned Los Angeles Dodgers landing at 9th in spending, at $8 million per-player, which has brought them to an extraordinary payroll of $272 million – which leads all teams in all the pro leagues surveyed. The next highest MLB team on the list is the storied New York Yankees, spending $7.1 million per-player, to the tune of a roughly $219 million payroll, more than $50 million less than the Dodgers.
Rounding out the four largest North American sports leagues – the NFL and the NHL, while still possessing million dollar salaries and payrolls, on average pay far less than the MLB and NBA. The team spending the most on average per-player in the NFL is the Miami Dolphins at $2.3 million; in the NHL it’s the New York Rangers at $3.3 million.
For more stats on your favorite team’s spending, check out the survey in full at ESPN.