Last updateSat, 28 Mar 2020 1pm


The Three Highest Revenue Making Leagues


The sports industry is one of the largest growing and most entertaining business endeavors across the globe. As a multi-billion dollar business, professional sports have also become on of the most stable businesses known to current times. Athletes, members of the front office, and other franchise workers get paid through memorabilia, ticket sales, and sponsorships to create an endless cycle of financial transactions.

With all the fans’ attention focused on the talent, one can often forget what lies beyond this statistics. Which professional American sports league pays their athletes the most money? Which generates the most revenue?

It comes as no surprise that the National Football League generates the most money. During 2013, the NFL received $1.07 billion from sponsorship deals alone. This marked a 5.7 percent increase from the previous 2012 season. Eric Chemi of Bloomberg magazine reported that the NFL made more than $9 billion during the 2014 season.

NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, has presided over the league since 2006 and since then, has overcome many trials such as the newly found research on concussions. Despite these obstacles, Goodell went on record and said that by 2027, the NFL will post a revenue of $25 billion per year.

Associate Professor Staurt Rosenberg of Management and Decision Sciences said that Goodell’s goal, while it seems absurd, is actually possible. 

“The TV deals that the NFL commands are significantly higher than what other professional sports leagues can achieve. The popularity of the NFL should continue to be strong, so the league will have incredible bargaining power,” Rosenberg said.

The NFL is the first when it comes to highest revenue average at $286 million a year.

Two cities that are often are analyzed around this region are Philadelphia and New York.

According to Forbes, the 2014 Philadelphia Eagles had a payroll salary of $150 million, the New York Giants paid $146 million to their players and the New York Jets dished out $134 million to their roster. As mentioned before, the NFL is the highest generating professional league in regards to revenue. The 2014 Eagles boasted a revenue of $330 million, the Giants $353 million, and the Jets $333 million.

The professional sport which creates the second highest revenue is Major League Baseball. Tracing its roots to 1885, the MLB is the longest continuing league in America’s history. The 32 teams which make up the MLB’s average revenue is $237 million a year. The 2014 season brought in around $9 billion for the MLB entity, a 13 percent increase from the season prior.

While it can be argued that neither baseball nor football surpass the popularity of the global sensation known to Americans as soccer, the Premier League falls far behind in revenue when compared to the NFL and MLB. 

“Although the Premier League has Manchester United, on average its teams do not bring in the kind of revenue that NFL or MLB teams do,” Rosenberg said. “The Premier League as a whole cannot compete with the NFL and MLB in terms of ticket sales, TV, corporate sponsorships, and merchandising. The NFL, in particular, has an advantage over other professional sports leagues due to its tremendous exposure.”

According to the Premier League’s official, “The 23rd edition of the Annual Review of Football Finance by Deloitte has been published and has found that the revenue of clubs in the Barclays Premier League reached a record level of £2.5 billion in the 2012/13 season.” This is equivalent to about 2.7 billion US dollars.

The Spanish soccer league, La Liga, has the highest team revenue in professional sports, Real Madrid at $797 million for the 2013-14 season, but the Premier League generates a higher revenue.

According to Cork Gaines of Business Insider, “the Premier League also had 13 clubs make less than the lowest revenue-generating team in either MLB or NFL (Miami Marlins, $159 million).” With this said, the Premier League holds the number three spot for average team revenue at $215 million.

Although the figures are different, it is no surprise that the sports entertainment is one of the wealthiest industries in the world and will only continue to grow.

Heather Schleindwein, a sophomore business management and marketing major, believes that the sports industry is one of greatest money generating industries in today’s society.

“There are so many reasons sports make money. People gather to watch sports games and the commercials are typically aimed towards a certain tagert market during the them, so companies are willing to pay for a spot during major sporting broadcasts,” Schleindwein continued. “They have memorbilia to sell, endless amounts of money generating contracts, and so much more. Sports will always make money.”

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