Barcelona spends more on wages than any other sports team

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 24: The FC Barcelona logo is seen on the carpet prior to the Group B match of the UEFA Champions League between FC Barcelona and FC Internazionale at Camp Nou on October 24, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Barcelona spends more money on wages than any other club in the world and has become the first sports team in history to top £10 million ($13.76m) a year in average first-team pay.

According to the Sporting Intelligence website’s latest Global Sports Salary Survey, the average basic first-team pay for the 2018-19 season at the La Liga giants is £10,454,259 ($13,755,714) — a rise of a third for the Catalans since the 2017/18 season.

It is the first time Barcelona has topped the survey since 2012, when the club’s average wage was half of the current sum.

La Liga rivals Real Madrid is second, with its first-team players earning an average of £8.1 million ($10.6m) a year, while the next six spots are filled by NBA teams with the Oklahoma Thunder — last year’s table-toppers — third (£7.85m/$10.32m).

Thunder, Golden State Warriors (£7.82m/$10.29m) and Washington Wizards (£7.63m/$10.04m) become the first American teams with average pay of more than $10m per player per year.

Manchester United (£6.5m/$8.6m) is the highest English club in 10th, while Italian champions Juventus has risen from 32nd to ninth in the table after signing Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer with its bill at £6.72m ($8.85m).

French club Paris Saint-Germain has slipped from fifth in 2017 to 18th, with an average salary spend per player of £6.1m ($8m).

Messi new deal, Coutinho signing

In its ninth year, the survey tracks pay in 349 teams across eight sports in 13 countries, sourcing directly or indirectly from unions, player associations, players, agents, leagues or club sources.

Barcelona’s wage rise from £6.6m ($8.84m) a year ago to over £10m ($13.76m) can be attributed to Lionel Messi’s new contract, signed in November 2017, with his £50m ($64.2m) a year deal making him the best paid player in the club’s history.

Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti and Sergio Busquets also signed new contracts with the club, while the signings of Philippe Coutinho, Malcom, Arthur Melo and Arturo Vidal also added to the wage bill.

Of the survey’s top 20 teams, 12 are from the NBA and eight are from elite European football.

The English Premier League remains the richest football league in the world, with first-team players earning £2.99m ($3.9m) a year on average, while the NBA remains the highest-paid league in the world with average salaries of £5.9m ($7.8m) per year this season.

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