An “extraordinary combination of new contracts and signings” has taken Barcelona back to the top of the global sport pay rankings – and made the La Liga giants the first team to have average basic annual pay of more than £10 million.
Barca are the best-paid team in global sport, according to a global survey published on Monday, and return to the top for the first time in six years.
The Catalans return to the top of the pay rankings in the ninth edition of Sporting Intelligence’s Global Sports Salaries Survey (GSSS) for the first time since 2012.
The average annual basic first-team salary at the Camp Nou was more than £10.45m in late November of the 2018/19 season, the British-based researchers said.
Domestic rivals Real Madrid have climbed to second place. Average basic pay at the Bernabeu is just over £8m per year.
In third place are last year’s number one team, the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder (£7.85m).
The metric used by the GSSS is average first-team pay. It looks solely at earnings for playing sport, not for endorsements or other extra-curricular activities.
“In last year’s list, Barcelona were the world’s best-paid football team but it has still taken an extraordinary combination of new contracts and signings to lift their average basic pay this time above £10m from £6.6m a year ago,” the report said.
“Foremost among those contracts was the biggest pay deal in Barcelona’s history awarded to (Lionel) Messi. His gross basic (pre-tax) annual Barca pay tops £50m per year, including guaranteed image rights fees.”
Six of the top 10 payers in this year’s GSSS are NBA teams – an ongoing consequence of a huge new TV deal in the NBA that kicked in before the 2016/17 season.
As recently as the 2015 GSSS, there were eight football teams in the top 10 but there are just four this year — Barca, Real, Juventus and Manchester United.
The NBA has extended its lead as the best-paying league by average salary (£5.9m), ahead of the Indian Premier League cricket competition (£3.8m when weekly pay is annualised) and MLB (baseball).
The Premier League remains the world’s best-paying football league. Average pay in the 2018/19 season in England’s top division is nearly £3 million a year.
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