Median Salaries Across World's Top Sports Leagues

Published on December 12th, 2018
Written By: Ariel Noel

Sports player wages - Median salary - Year is 2018. A good way to measure how much money an average sports player makes in this day and age is the median salary figure. A median salary is the amount that 50 percent of players make less than and 50% make more than. This takes out of the equation the outrageous amounts of money superstar players are paid and leaves us with a number that an average top level player in the game is expected to receive for his contribution to the club.

Considering all the hype about how much money is in the game these days, it may come as a surprise to see the median salary numbers be significantly more modest than what we are used to seeing in the headlines. Sure, players like Lionel Messi and Junior Neymar command great wages, but what about the average players?

Let's take a look at the median annual salaries across the major sports leagues.

League - Season - Average Salary - Median Salary

NBA - 2018/19 - $7,770,999 - $4,320,500
IPL - 2018 - $5,058,901 - $3,428,118
EPL - 2018/19 - $3,935,197 - $2,942,129
NHL - 2018/19 - $2,783,728 - $1,950,000
MLB - 2018 - $4,512,768 - $1,450,000
La Liga - 2017/18 - $2,896,151 - $1,214,483
Serie A - 2017/18 - $1,999,864 - $1,164,483
NFL - 2018/19 - $2,912,745 - $1,100,000
Bundesliga - 2018/19 - $1,837,614 - $923,692
Ligue 1 - 2018/19 - $1,302,347 - $607,584


Average salaries are much higher compared to median salaries in all of the top sports leagues, according to the data from Sportingintelligence.

When it comes to world of soccer, the average annual salaries in four out of the five big European leagues are more than double than the median. The reason for the big difference are the extreme wages paid to star players, noticeably higher than the average, and especially the median. In the NFL and MLB this difference is even more pronounced.

The highest paid athlete by a club is the soccer player Lionel Messi of Barcelona FC, who earns $62m per year before tax.

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