The job of professional sports commissioners is incredibly demanding. They are responsible for resolving disputes, negotiating contracts, handling disciplinary matters and promoting the overall league. Every decision is scrutinized by the media and fans. It can be a demanding, high pressure job. Fortunately for them, sports commissioners are compensated very well for their high profile jobs. The best ones make salaries that rival those of the highest paid players in their respective sports. Let's take a look at the top paid sports commissioners.

In Pictures: Top 5 Most Hair-Raising Contracts

No.1 Bud Selig, MLB Commissioner
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig grabs the number one spot, bringing in just under $19 million a year. Selig earned $18.35 million dollars in 2007 alone. He made $17.47 million dollars in base compensation, $461,540 in employee benefits, and another $422,590 in expense allowances. That would be a nice haul for a player, let alone a sports commissioner. There are only 10 players in the entire sport that currently make more money than Selig.

With the labor problems, World Series cancellation and All Star game fiasco all occurring under his watch, Bud Selig still manages to pull in a multi-million dollar salary. (For more on baseball, check out A History Of Baseball Economics and Baseball Greats Who Were Paid Like Benchwarmers.)

No.2 Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner
National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell rules over one of the most profitable sports league in the world. The NFL generated nearly $8 billion dollars in revenue last year and is the most popular sport in the United States. Goodell seems underpaid, making just $11 million in compensation last year. He has frozen his compensation for the current year in an effort to cut operating costs. This is after Goodell took a 25% pay cut the previous year.

Goodell's salary is well below Selig's despite the NFL having greater revenues, operating income, profitability and being a whole lot more popular than baseball. It looks like Goodell has some renegotiating to do.

No.3 David Stern, NBA Commissioner
Two men are credited with helping the National Basketball Association reach its height of popularity in the '90s. Michael Jordan is one and NBA Commissioner David Stern is the other. Stern is generally regarded as the "best commissioner in all of sports" because of the job he has done keeping labor peace and promoting the NBA brand around the world.

For his efforts, it is believed that Stern has received a salary of approximately $10 million dollars annually. The NBA does not publicly disclose the commissioner's salary. Stern was the highest paid commissioner in all of sports in the '90s. He has since been surpassed in compensation by Goodell and Selig. (Check out some stats on the most recent NBA finals in NBA Finals: By The Numbers.)

No.4. Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner
The National Hockey League Commissioner took home $7.2 million dollars in salary last year. This is a generous salary for a league that has been plagued by labor unrest and financial troubles. The NHL's television ratings are not as strong as the other league's and regular season games are no longer carried by major networks. Bettman has seen his compensation escalate as the NHL struggles.

Only 11 NHL superstars receive more compensation than the NHL's chief boss.

No.5 Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem rounds out the list with his salary and bonuses amounting to $5.3 million dollars last year. Finchem's salary was flat at $1.3 million dollars per year. Performance bonuses accounted for the other $4 million dollars. With the help of Tiger Woods, Finchem has been responsible for doubling the total revenue for the PGA over the last 12 years. Revenue has grown from just under half a billion in 1996 to nearly $1 billion dollars in 2007. The PGA Tour has grown its fan base to move from being a niche sport to a major one.

The Bottom Line
Professional sports commissioners make a nice living as the CEOs of sports leagues. Unlike players, they can continue earning large salaries for 20 years or more if they choose to do so. So maybe it's time to put down the baseball bat and start practicing your contract negotiation skills. (For more, check out Sports Stars Worth Every Penny.)

Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: Who Is The Next Buffett?

Related Articles
  1. Investing News

    Learn from These Big CEO Blunders

    A ceo can seem to have it all: power, influence and gravitas. But it can all erode — along with a company’s share price — in the wake of a scandal.
  2. Personal Finance

    How Major League Baseball Makes Money

    Major League Baseball is big business. Let's take a look at where the money comes from.
  3. Personal Finance

    Who Is Next in the Athleisure Trend?

    Which companies are jumping on the growing athleisure wear trend and how can investors start getting in on this?
  4. Personal Finance

    Top 10 Most Valuable Sports Teams in 2015

    Cleats, pads and profits: we take a look at the top 10 most valuable sports teams in the world.
  5. Fundamental Analysis

    The Economics of FanDuel

    Part of fantasy sports’ success lies in one-day and week-long contests serving as an alternative to season-long games. FanDuel, a leader in this space, has recently surpassed a $1 billion valuation.
  6. Personal Finance

    The Future Outlook of the Golf Industry

    The popularity of golf peaked in 2003. To regain popularity and survive, the industry is adapting to appeal to a younger generation of players.
  7. Stock Analysis

    How Nike (NKE) Continues to 'Do It'

    Other than style, do sneakers from any maker really differ that much? That's debatable. But this is certain: Nike sets the standard for selling an image.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    Nike and the NBA, a Perfect Duo?

    What does Nike's recent eight-year contract partnership with the NBA entail for its largest competitor Under Armor?
  9. Personal Finance

    How The NBA Makes Money

    The National Basketball Association has moved past Major League Baseball to represent the second most popular sport in the United States. How does the NBA make money?
  10. Economics

    The NBA’s Business Model

    Drawing interest domestically and abroad, the NBA has seen its popularity and revenue streams rapidly increase over the past few years.
  1. Why is Manchester United (MANU) carrying so much debt?

    The takeover of Manchester United by the Glazer family beginning in 2005 saddled the historic club with substantial amounts ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What are Manchester United's (MANU) largest revenue sources?

    Manchester United is one of the most popular U.K. soccer teams. Its principal stadium is Old Trafford, located in the heart ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Does Manchester United (MANU) own Old Trafford stadium?

    Old Trafford Stadium was built for and is currently still owned by Manchester United Football Club (Man Utd.). This means ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What's the biggest sports endorsement deal ever signed?

    According to Forbes, basketball player Derrick Rose holds the largest endorsement deal as of 2014; the deal is for more than ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the biggest stadium naming rights deals of all time?

    The top three stadium naming rights deals of all time were all for stadiums hosting New York City teams. The largest was ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between a mutual fund and money market fund?

    The Herfindahl-Hirschman index can be used to determine competitive balance in sports. Competitive balance is desired in ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Cyber Monday

    An expression used in online retailing to describe the Monday following U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. Cyber Monday is generally ...
  2. Bar Chart

    A style of chart used by some technical analysts, on which, as illustrated below, the top of the vertical line indicates ...
  3. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  4. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  5. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  6. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
Trading Center