We know that professional sports are a big money business, but just how big? ESPN took a look at just how much money the average player makes on professional sports teams around the world, and it turns out that the United States isn't at the top of the list. Here are the top five spending teams.
The top-paying sports team in the world is FC Barcelona, a soccer team based in Barcelona, Spain. It was founded in 1899 and holds the title of Spanish and European football league champions with a record two FIFA Club World Cup trophies. FC Barcelona not only signs the best players, but it also produces some of the best players as well. This team is renowned for finding young talent and nurturing them in to some of the world's best. Many of these players leave the FC Barcelona Academy only wanting to return years later. Barcelona has had to open its wallets to keep and obtain players for its team by paying an average of $7,910,737 per year, or $152,130 per week.
American sports pay a lot, but if you want to find the highest paying teams you have to go to Spain. Real Madrid is one of the biggest soccer clubs in the world. It is the only team that is player-owned, and it's the richest soccer club in the world in terms of revenue. It has a reputation of having the best players. This has driven some of the best players in the world to play for the club. Names like David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo have all suited up for Real Madrid. With big names like that at the club, we can expect big dollars as well. Real Madrid pays an average of $7,356,632 per year or $141,474 per week.
New York Yankees
The most famous baseball team in the world is the New York Yankees. The New York Yankees is not only a Baseball team, it's an American icon. This has not only translated to the team's global image, but also its reputation for paying big money for players like Alex Rodriguez - who is making about $30,000,000 per year. The team's average salary is $6,756,301 or $129,929 per week.
Playing in Los Angeles with the back drop of Hollywood means your team needs to have stars, and is constantly surround by stars. With celebrities like Jack Nicholson and Denzel Washington at games, the L.A. Lakers know it needs to put out a winning product. Having players like Jerry West (the NBA logo), Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant on your team, you know you're going to pay up. The Los Angeles Lakers will pay Bryant $25,244,493 in 2012, making the average salary per player $6,540,690 or $125,782 per week.
Past and present home of players Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal, Magic owner Rich DeVos believes in an open checkbook when it comes to securing some of the best players. Located in sunny Orlando, Fla., the team has the location and lifestyle to attract many high-profile players. The Magic currently pay an average of $6,367,114 per player or $122,445 per week.
These sports teams all pay their players a lot of money, especially the star players. While North American leagues like the NBA and MLB pay high salaries, it is the soccer leagues in Europe where real big money is thrown around. Paying high salaries often leads to success, so it is unlikely these pro teams will stop paying such high salaries to their players.