Now Reading
NHL Ahead of NFL in Average Annual Player Salaries

NHL Ahead of NFL in Average Annual Player Salaries

by Jonathan GarzaNovember 8, 2013


NHL players made more money than those in the NFL in 2012, which seems insane considering the NFL is the most popular sport in the U.S., but it’s exactly how the numbers break down in Frank Doyle’s number crunching of the top five professional team sports.

Doyle found out which athletes got more bang for their buck by mapping out the average yearly and career salaries in professional team sports and helping us realize things like Kobe Bryant earning almost $38,000 per field goal made.

The average annual player salary through 2012 stacks up like this:
NBA ($5.15 million)
MLB ($3.2 million)
NHL ($2.4 million)
NFL ($1.9 million)
MLS ($0.16 million)


Last week Bryant got a $24 million advance on his $30 million salary, so let those numbers sink in and don’t be surprised that the NBA was tops on the list above.

However the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement last year will probably bring down those numbers as team’s can only spend so much on player’s before having to face a hefty tax, like the Los Angeles Lakers have been doing the last couple years.

No surprise that MLB is toward the top, as teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers are willing to dish out $300 million contracts, like the one that has been reportedly offered to pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

New York Yankees fans might be trying to forget Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year/$275 million contract, but just a reminder, he’s still owed over $80 million the next four years. And the graphic below will show that he made $253,968 in 2012, but for his 38 hits in 2013, he made $736,842 per hit.

The NHL’s popularity in this U.S. doesn’t come close to the NFL, so you have to wonder why the NFL is bumped down below the NHL in the pecking order of player salaries.

If you’re not familiar with the NHL, it is not unusual to see lifetime contracts such as the 14-year/$110 million contract that was given to Nashville Predator Shea Weber last season, or Sidney Crosby’s 12-year/$104.4 million contract from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

So if you’re wondering how the NHL could be ahead of the NFL, those lifetime contracts, combined with the short, non-guaranteed contracts the NFL hands out is the probable reason for it.

The MLS has handed out its share of crazy contracts as it has tried to bring more international talent to the U.S. like Thierry Henry ($4.35 million, 2013) and Robbie Keane ($4.33 million, 2013). But their contracts pale in comparison to the highest paid players in the other four leagues.

Below is a breakdown of what the highest paid players in each league had to score to earn their 2012 contracts.


All of you hosers putting your kids in Pop Warner football should trade in those cleats for a pair of skates and help them adapt a Canadian accent, ey.

(Graphics courtesy of Sports interaction)

What's your reaction?
Love It
Hate It
About The Author
Jonathan Garza
Jonathan is the founder of the West Coast Bias Sports network, and formerly worked for HOY Los Ángeles and the Los Angeles Times. He is a lover of pizza, sushi and of bowling balls. Find him on Twitter: @iJonathanGarza.

Leave a Response