Even with luxury taxes in place, player lockouts, and skewed numbers of championships to teams with higher payrolls, the conversation of gaps between the highest and lowest payrolls amongst professional sports teams continues.
The sport with the greatest disparity? Major League Baseball. That’s right, the gap between the payrolls of the New York Yankees (highest) and the San Diego Padres (lowest) is a whopping $142.7M. To put that into perspective, the average player salary during the 2012 season landed around $3.4M, with the average team payroll sitting at $98M.
In some leagues, huge payrolls often associate with higher championship counts — take for example the NBA, where 3 teams have won 11 of the last 14 NBA Finals, including the Spurs, Heat and the Lakers. When it comes to the NBA’s payroll discrepancy gaps, look no further than the $46M gap between the LA Lakers (highest) and the Sacramento Kings (lowest). In other leagues, the payrolls mean little-to-nothing.
The New York Yankees are a perfect case study for the “money can’t buy you a championship” argument. According to Concordia University St. Paul‘s latest visual study, while the Yankees have had the largest payroll for the last five years, they haven’t made it to all five playoffs. $209 million couldn’t guarantee them a spot in the 2008 MLB postseason.
Here’s a complete look at the payroll gaps and data from all the major sport leagues:
Infographic by Concordia University-Saint Paul