Survey: Barcelona 1st Team to Average £10M in Player Salaries Per Year

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 25, 2018

FC Barcelona's Coutinho, front center, celebrates with teammates, including Lionel Messi, left, during a Spanish La Liga soccer match against Alaves at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Barcelona have become the first sports team in history to average more than £10 million per year in first-team player wages, beating rivals Real Madrid and a host of NBA teams to the top spot.

According to research from a Sporting Intelligence survey (h/t Guardian's Sean Ingle), the Catalans pay their players an average of £10.45 million before bonuses. Real Madrid come in second at £8.1 million, while the Oklahoma City Thunder average £7.85 million. The NBA champion Golden State Warriors are fourth at £7.82 million.

NBA teams occupy the six slots after the La Liga duo, while Manchester United are the highest-ranked Premier League side, coming in at No. 10. The Red Devils sit one spot behind Juventus, who have risen dramatically following the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.

TOPSHOT - Juventus' Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after opening the scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Juventus vs Spal 2013 on November 24, 2018 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)        (

According to the report, Barcelona's total wages have risen by a third since last season, continuing a worrying trend for the Spanish champions. In October, the Telegraph's Sam Wallace reported the Catalans' wage bill and limited profits leave no space to sign major stars like Paul Pogba, who would demand huge contracts.

Per the report, the survey highlights how Premier League clubs are forced into paying a premium for players not just in terms of transfer fees, but also wages. Those can be two or three times as high compared to clubs of similar stature and playing level in Spain or Germany.

The Indian Premier League, the top cricket league in the world, pays out the highest average salary per match at £274,624. The NFL comes in second, ahead of the English Premier League. 

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 23: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers is seen shaking hands with his sons Bryce Maximus James and LeBron James Jr. after winning the game against the Utah Jazz on November 23, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Cali
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The IPL only has eight teams, so each team plays just 14 matches in total before the play-offs. The NBA and NHL both crack the top 10 despite having far more expansive schedules, with teams playing 82 regular-season matches.

With an average base salary of £5.9 million, the NBA is the highest-paid league in the world on a per-season basis.

The survey tracked teams from eight sports across 13 countries and will be released in full on Monday.