Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Looking at some MLS salary data (including one very happy chart)

David Beckham, Robbie Keane

Los Angeles Galaxy’s David Beckham, center, stands with teammates Robbie Keane, left, and Landon Donovan at a training session at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Tuesday, March 6, 2012, ahead of their team’s CONCACAF soccer match against Toronto FC on Wednesday. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)


The median salary for an LA Galaxy player is about six-times that of a somebody on the Crew.

That’s what Sporting Intelligence has published both at their site and in ESPN the magazine, though that may be the least interesting past of their huge data set they’ve collected.

The site has gathered salary data from a myriad of different leagues the world over: “football (soccer variety), basketball, baseball, cricket, gridiron (football variety), ice hockey, Aussie rules football”.

Before we get to more MLS data, here are some of their observations:

The NBA remains the best-paid league overall per man, with average annual salaries of £2.65m a year, or £50,883 per player per week on average. The LA Lakers are the highest paying team in the NBA and the Indian Pacers the lowest, and the difference between the two is a ratio of 1.86 to 1.

This is tiny compared the ratio between the best paid and worst paid in Spain: 22.81 to 1. That is why Barcelona and Real Madrid are way head of everyone else in that league. Even the Scottish SPL is no longer as stretched as that (with a ratio of 19.18 to 1 between top and bottom).

Looks like MLS’s six to one isn’t bad at all.

The top 10 highest paid teams in world sport ...

Rank(last year)TeamLeagueAvg. player pay $ per year
1(1)BarcelonaLa Liga$8,680,569
2(2)Real MadridLa Liga$7,796,637
3(10)Manchester CityEPL$7,403,754
5(4)LA LakersNBA$6,278,088
6(3)New York YankeesMLB$6,186,322
7(14)MilanSerie A$6,104,769
8(12)Bayern MunichBundesliga$5,907,652
9(13)Philadelphia PhilliesMLB$5,817,965
10(7)InternazionaleSerie A$5,700,915

... and the Major League Soccer data:

Rank(last year)TeamLeagueAvg. player pay $ per year
219(222)LA GalaxyMLS$555,799
222(218)New York Red BullsMLS$529,126
228(227)Toronto FCMLS$321,959
251(270)Chivas USAMLS$178,644
253(255)Seattle SoundersMLS$173,024
255(250)Philadelphia UnionMLS$162,232
256(262)FC DallasMLS$157,387
257(-)Vancouver WhitecapsMLS$150,092
258(259)Real Salt LakeMLS$149,926
259(-)Portland TimbersMLS$149,515
260(256)Houston DynamoMLS$147,882
261(226)Chicago FireMLS$145,521
262(257)DC UnitedMLS$141,307
263(258)Colorado RapidsMLS$127,457
264(253)New England RevolutionMLS$125,802
265(260)San Jose EarthquakesMLS$120,802
266(-)Montreal ImpactMLS$118,464
267(254)Sporting Kansas CityMLS$116,786
278(252)Columbus CrewMLS$89,369

Really, Columbus?

But then again, maybe Columbus is onto something (no, not really). Check out the first and third sports above them on the list.

Here’s another way to look at the data:

mls salaries

It all looks nice and friendly until you get to that big three on the right.

One other representation:

mls pay curve

Like what Toronto does to that curve? Not that it really matters. The season isn’t old enough to make this chart more than something fun to look at (for those that can harken back to their college stats classes, I kept the R2 value there, though).

Check out these links for more info, and don’t be afraid to give the people some money:

ESPN the Magazine: Highest-paying teams in the world
Sporting Intelligence: REVEALED: The world’s best paid teams, Man City close in on Barca and Real Madrid