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

    Super Savings for Your Super Bowl Party? Bet on It

    Prices for wings, avocados and TVs are all coming down, which will make your Super Bowl 50 festivities less costly.
  2. Investing News

    Are Super Bowl Ads Worth Their High Cost?

    Are Super Bowl ads worth the investment? A look at the cost and how they're received.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The Top 4 Entertainment ETFs for 2016 (PEJ, XLY)

    Learn more about the entertainment sector, the companies that are included and the four ETFs that provide investors with exposure to this industry.
  4. Markets

    Top Investment Banks in the Sports Industry

    Find out why the top investment banks in the sports industry tend to be smaller niche players and are prepared to battle the Wall Street giants for business.
  5. Retirement

    How Pro Athletes Can Choose the Right Advisor

    When it comes to finances, professional athletes can be vulnerable. Here's what they need to look for in a financial advisor.
  6. Investing

    How FanDuel and DraftKings Work

    DraftKings and FanDuel lead the daily fantasy sports industry, supported primarily by advertising, entry fees, media companies and sports leagues.
  7. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Five of the Best Yacht Clubs in Seattle

    Seattle doesn’t have a year-round sailing environment, but there are lots of opportunities for boating enthusiasts, from modestly priced to high-end clubs.
  8. Personal Wealth & Private Banking

    Four of Miami's Best Yacht Clubs

    Choices abound in Miami for boating enthusiasts, from high-end, high-priced yachting clubs to no-frill groups that still offer races, cruises and more.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
RELATED FAQS
  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 >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
  2. Discouraged Worker

    A person who is eligible for employment and is able to work, but is currently unemployed and has not attempted to find employment ...
  3. Ponzimonium

    After Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme was revealed, many new (smaller-scale) Ponzi schemers became exposed. Ponzimonium ...
  4. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. Included in earnings reports are items such as net ...
  5. Dark Pool Liquidity

    The trading volume created by institutional orders that are unavailable to the public. The bulk of dark pool liquidity is ...
Trading Center