Last week the latest edition of the Global Sports Salaries Survey (GSSS) was released by Sporting Intelligence (available here). The GSSS provides a breakdown of sports clubs average spending on players’ salaries globally. Table 1 shows the top 10 clubs globally by average annual spend on player’s salaries. It should be noted that these figures are based on basic pay and do not include performance based bonus’, loyalty bonus’ and endorsements.
The 3rd to 8th positions in Table 1 are held by teams from the NBA. OKC have the highest paid players on average with both Russell Westbrook and Paul George both earning NBA max contracts. In 2017, Westbrook signed a five year $205 million with George signing a four year $137 million contract the following year. The Thunder have slipped in the rankings after releasing ten time NBA All Star Carmelo Anthony from his $28 million a year deal.
Last seasons, NBA Champions Golden State Warriors are fourth on the list as a result of the earnings of their four NBA All-stars: Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. In 2017, Steph Curry became the highest paid player in the NBA at the time signing a five-year $201 million contract. Current NBA finals MVP, Kevin Durant has actually taken a pay cut in order to facilitate paying the other stars and back up players. However, three of the Warrior’s star players: Durant, Thompson and Green are on expiring contracts and the team are faced with difficult decision given the NBA’s salary cap will make it impossible the pay the three players the kind of salary they could earn at other teams.
The highest climbers in the Top 10 are Juventus who have climbed from 32nd place in 2017 to 9th in 2018. The signing of five time Ballon D’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo coupled with Douglas Costa and Leonardo Bonucci on big contracts have contributed to the sharp rise in average salaries at the Turin based club. Manchester United are the only Premier League team to feature in the top 10 with average annual salaries of £6.5 million. Manchester City (£5.93 million) are the next highest English club in 20th, with Chelsea (35), Liverpool (38) and Arsenal (39) all appearing in the top 40.