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The 10 highest-paid sports teams in the world


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The New York Yankees might be world champions of baseball, but are the Bronx Bombers the world champion in sports spending?

A new study ranked all the world's professional sports teams by salary and, indeed, the Yankees came out on top globally. The United States is well-represented as well. Seven American teams are in the top 10, six of which qualified for the playoffs last year. In fact, nine of the teams on the list that qualified for the playoffs of their respective leagues. Maybe spending does matter.

The list is courtesy the Annual Review of Global Sports Strategies, as published by sportingintelligence.com. Dollar amount given is an approximation of the average annual salary of a first-team player on the team.

1. New York Yankees -- Major League Baseball (USA) -- $7,000,000

Critics say the Yankees buy championships. Yet the 2009 World Series title was the team's first since 2000, despite the fact that George Steinbrenner's crew has outspent other Major League teams every year since then. The gap between the Yankees payroll and that of the second-highest MLB team (appx. $70 million) was more than the total payroll of 11 other clubs.

2. Real Madrid -- La Liga (ESP) -- $6,333,591

Last year, Real Madrid paid a $120 million transfer fee to British powerhouse Manchester United for the rights to Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured). It was part of a summer spending spree which saw Real dole out more than $250 million in salary and fees.

3. Barcelona -- La Liga (ESP) -- $6,082,940

Spending a little less than Real Madrid didn't seem to hurt Barca last year. Behind FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, Barcelona won La Liga and the UEFA Champions League.

4. Chelsea -- English Premier League (GBR) -- $5,361,957

Chelsea's recent spending has led to two FA Cup titles in the past three years but the club is still looking for its first Premier League title since 2006. Saturday's matchup with first-place Manchester United will help decide this year's champ.

5. Dallas Mavericks -- National Basketball Association (USA) -- $5,315,097

Mark Cuban's Mavs recently qualified for the playoffs for the 10th straight season. If not for a bizarre collapse in the 2007 finals, Dirk Nowitzki and company would have a title too.

6. Los Angeles Lakers -- NBA (USA) -- $5,098,920

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are one of three teams on this list to have won a title in 2009.

7. Detroit Pistons -- NBA (USA) -- $4,995,573

Having the third-highest payroll in the NBA didn't help the Pistons get over .500 last season. The Motor City's team did sneak into the playoffs though but were promptly swept by the next team on our list.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers -- NBA (USA) -- $4,940,707

Cleveland currently has the best record in the NBA, but fans just as concerned with what will happen in July when LeBron James becomes a free agent. If he re-signs with his hometown club, look for Cleveland to stay on this list for the better part of the next decade. If not ... go Browns?

9. Boston Celtics -- NBA (USA) -- $4,885,055

The nucleus of the Celtics is aging quickly, but Boston fans can't mind too much. They got a title out of this team in 2008.

10. New York Knicks -- NBA (USA) -- $4,881,952

Finally, our first lesson in the perils of overspending. The 2009 Knicks weren't as much of a disaster as other recent editions (the 32 wins were nine more than NY had the year before), but it's never good when a team's highest paid player is more known for sitting on the bench in street clothes and making bizarre rants on the Internet.

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