• Steve Potter

12/3/21 : Just some numbers


Disappointed and dismayed this week as the baseball off-season came to a standstill … not taking sides on the matter as I’m sure both have legitimate points. One of the hosts on the MLB network stated that “most fans” won’t care about the lockout stoppage during the off-season as they are not engaged - only to the die-hards will it matter. Perhaps that’s true but since I’m one of those die-hards it does indeed matter to me, never can understand impasse when both sides have so much gain. It will eventually be worked out, compromise is inevitable, whether it’s liked or not. That’s just how it is.


So in the interim I looked up some data, all unofficial, just as best I can determine them about how the MLB compares to the three other major sports leagues in revenues and payroll expenditures. Just one qualifying note before I list out my league comparative findings :


$58,220 is the median annual salary for spectators sports, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics


$111,480 is the average annual salary for spectators sports, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics


Median income is the exact middle income earned by someone in a job or career field. Average income is the mathematical mean of all incomes for that position. In most cases, these income levels are very close, though especially high or low salaries can cause the average to be higher or lower than the median income.


Now let’s dig into some data ( a comparison of the NHL, NBA, NFL and MLB ) - values found on websites such as spotrac, puckmedia, statista, nytimes, profootballnetwork, overthecap, Forbes and ESPN.


Salaries :


Annual Minimum Salary :


NHL - $750,000 - 82 game season - $9,150 per game

NBA - $925,258 - 82 game season - $11,825 per game

NFL - $660,000 - 17 game season - $38,825 per game

MLB - $575,500 - 162 game season - $3,550 per game


Median Income :


NHL - $2.3 million

NBA - $3.4 million

NFL - $860,000

MLB - $ 1.1 million


Average Income :


NHL - $2.5 million

NBA - $8.25 million

NFL - $2.1 million

MLB - $ 4.2 million


Pay Period :


NHL - paid bi monthly during the play season - 7 months - $107,150 per month (based on minimum salary - others specific to contract )


NBA - 24 installments throughout the year - 12 months - $ 77,105 per month ( based on minimum salary - others specific to contract )


NFL - paid over a 36 week period which includes the play season - 8 months - $82,500 per month ( based on minimum salary - others specific to contract )


MLB - paid bi monthly during the play season - 6 months - $95,920 per month ( based on minimum salary - others specific to contract )


Average Career Length :


NHL - 5 years

NBA - 4.5 years

NFL - 3.3 years

MLB - 5.6 years


Estimated Annual Revenue :


NHL - $ 5.2 Billion

NBA - $ 10 Billion

NFL - $ 16 Billion

MLB - $ 11 Billion


Estimated Annual Total Player Salaries including NHL amounts in escrow :


NHL - $ 2.6 Billion - 50 % of estimated revenue ( the CBA has a 50-50 hockey related revenue split - escrow account )

NBA - $ 3.8 Billion - 38 % of estimated revenue

NFL - $ 5.8 Billion - 36 % of estimated revenue

MLB - $ $ 3.8 Billion - 34 % of estimated revenue


As you know I primarily cover the minor leagues so here’s some comparative data for the three sports that have minor league affiliations, a huge gap between the show and the development leagues in regards to salaries.


Minor Leagues :


AHL - $52,000 is the league average salary

NBA Development League - $19,500 is the minimum salary

MILB - most make less than $15,000 per year


Just some numbers to digest as we wait for the attorneys to figure out a new MLB CBA - in the interim there’s the holiday season upon us, even die hard fans like myself can revel in the “Most wonderful time of year “ without baseball 😎. Hopefully they get the fellas back in time so that players can matriculate to the complex as they normally do in January before the “official” start of spring training else this old fan may just indeed lose interest 🤦‍♂️🥴.


Happy Day, Happy Negotiations, Happy Baseball ⚾️




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