Sports Teams with the Highest Payrolls in the World


Athletes’ salaries are truly astronomical in some cases, especially if your salary is one of the highest in the MLB. In some cases, even your favorite rapper or singer wouldn’t make as much money with their talent as your favorite football player. Of course, any path of fame provides many income opportunities – sponsorships, business opportunities, and having connections and the ability to connect with more influential people. Athletes have these benefits and bonuses from fame too, but their actual salaries are enough on their own!

Take Mike Trout, who is currently the center fielder for the Los Angeles Angels. He gets paid over $37 million annually after the season, but this salary (one of the highest in the MLB,) is still nothing compared to the highest paid in the sporting industry as a whole. However, something to note when it comes to this industry is that even though fame is attached to sports, fame does not dictate your ability to continue dominating within your niche. This is why, unlike actors, musicians, and entertainers who have to maintain fame and relevance to keep their lifestyle afloat, high-paid athletes simply need to provide their talent and a number of consistent wins.

The top 5 sports teams with the highest payrolls are definitely going to have you thinking about picking up a sport or two.

Los Angeles Dodgers

We touched on the Angels, but the Dodgers are one of the least popular teams in the MLB but they’re also the team with the highest payroll. Maybe you’re asking how this could be since the Dodgers are not known for winning often and are not revered for their pay-to-play mentality. Sure, the fans are loyal and good-spirited, but that’s not what anyone really cares about. How much are they spending? They have continued to add money to their payroll budget with every year that goes by, which is currently sitting at around $267 million. This figure is scary when compared to how much they have actually won in World Series history. Just over $100 million went into the three-year contract for one player, for example, and hopefully, he was worth the price tag.

Aerial view of a baseball stadium filled with fans

This was a similar case with Juventus and Manchester United when they purchased Cristiano Ronaldo – CR7 really seems to be raking in the talent cheques!

Barcelona FC

Lionel Messi saved them a pretty penny by leaving, bringing their annual payroll to over $300,000. Yes, that’s right – Messi was the factor that made them breach over a quarter of a billion dollars in funding! Let’s have a moment of silence for PSG who bought him (we’ll talk about this later when we cover the sports team with the highest payroll of 2021).
Barcelona is currently in debt with 1.35 billion euros having been spent by previous presidents and custodians of the club over the past 10 to 15 years with this figure rising by 600 million euros this year alone. Clearly, they have a spending problem when it comes to acquisition of talent.

An aerial view of a soccer stadium filled with spectators at a night game

Manchester United

It seems that soccer teams have a trend of paying far too much for their talent. If you are thinking of picking up a sport, please consider soccer. It seems to be a sport in which certain club owners have picked up the pay-to-win methodology, and we see it more than ever with Manchester United. Ever since the league was still part of the Barclays Premier League, Manchester United has been buying talent and paying increasing amounts for new players. They purchased Ronaldo for over $100 million, for example, while paying him a salary of just over $30 million, and they’d already spent roughly $280 million before the Ronaldo purchase! Unlike their Spanish friends, their debt is just shy of $500 million.

Real Madrid

Despite no longer having the famous Cristiano Ronaldo, their roster of incredible talent is unparalleled. They still dominate La Liga, having new additions to fill in the gaps, such as Eden Hazard – a former Chelsea player and great young talent who is paid over $24 million. This helps bring their annual payroll to just under $300 million (a whopping $295 million is spent each year at the club to fund their players). It seems that whoever is handling their banking, despite the massive annual spending, is doing a fantastic job of eliminating almost 200 million euros of their debt within a year as they continue to make smart financial decisions that in the near future will propel the club to new heights.

A soccer player kicks for goal.


The moment we’ve all been waiting for: the team with the highest payroll! Paris Saint-Germain is the sports team with the highest payroll in the world. Wherever Lionel Messi goes, a price tag of a million-plus will follow. Prior to Messi, PSG might not have made the top 5 list, but since their Argentinian addition, they have moved up to a wild $355 million spent annually to fund their team’s payroll. This is due to their newly-acquired star player.
Admittedly they were smart about it, and they didn’t have to pay him transfer fees because Barcelona is in significant debt, as discussed earlier. So much debt, in fact, that they were unable to continue to afford Messi. Messi was willing to play for free, but this offer from PSG was just too sweet to pass up. Despite PSG not paying the transfer fees, Messi earns over $500,000 a week with the incentive of performance bonuses on top of this. This gives Messi more than enough weekly spending money to do whatever he wants, as long as he stays a talented and successful footballer, which does not seem hard to do for the man on our favorite chip packets!


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