SYDNEY－Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid and Italy’s Juventus are the world’s best-paid sports teams according to the 2019 Global Sports Salaries Survey.
The 10th edition of the survey, conducted by sportingintelligence.com, finds Barcelona atop the list with an average basic salary of $12.8 million for first-team players.
That figure is down on last year when Barcelona was also first with an average of $13.7 million, swelled by the basic pay check of Lionel Messi, which exceeds $65 million.
Madrid retains second place with an average of $11.6 million and Juve, ninth on the list last year, is up to third with $10.54 million. The other soccer teams in the top 20 are Paris Saint-Germain at 12th and Manchester City at 13th.
The figures used in the survey do not include signing or performance bonuses and other extras.
Teams from the NBA fill the remaining seven spots in the top 10 and take 15 of the top 20 places. In 2017 the top three teams in the survey were the Oklahoma City Thunder, Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, while in 2018 three NBA teams broke the average pay ceiling of $10 million per player.
This year, the Portland Trail Blazers are in fourth place at just over $10.4 million, Golden State fifth at $10.28 million, while Oklahoma City drops to sixth at $9.83 million.
Among teams ranked 21 to 30 this year, nine are from the NBA, joined by soccer’s Bayern Munich at No 22.
Juventus was ranked No 32 in 2017 but leapt to 10th spot last year with the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo and other high-priced players.
The biggest risers in the latest survey were the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, who climbed 60 places to 92nd, and the Atlanta Falcons, up 59 spots to 64th.
Four of the five biggest falls were recorded by Major League Baseball teams, including the Toronto Blue Jays, who are down 123 places to No 172.
The New York Yankees were the top-ranked team in the inaugural survey in 2012.
The NBA has extended its lead as the top-paying league with an average salary of ($7.6 million), ahead of cricket’s Indian Premier League ($4.9m) and MLB($4.4m).
The English Premier League remains the world’s best-paying soccer league at fourth on the overall list, with average salaries in the 2018-19 season at $3.9 million (or $74,000 per week).
The next best-paid leagues are the NFL, Spanish soccer’s La Liga and hockey’s NHL. The top soccer divisions in Italy (Serie A), Germany (Bundesliga) and France (Ligue 1) complete the top 10.