Trends

Nowhere Near LeBron: Soccer’s Slim Salaries

LeBron James had the nation’s attention for a full hour this week with his announcement that he will be joining the Miami Heat next season. (Whether an hour of prime time was meritted, we won’t judge.) The bottom line: Over the next five years, James will reportedly earn around $100 million — and that’s just on the payroll. Endorsements are extra. Not to mention income from investments and other business ventures. You get the picture — and it’s got a lot of zeroes.

As talk has zeroed in on the NBA star’s compensation these days, though, it’s worth taking a look at James’ peers: professional athletes in the soccer, hockey, football and baseball leagues. Few surprises there, it turns out: it pays to be a basketball or baseball star; soccer… not so much. Even though the U.S. national soccer team was the center of attention until a couple of weeks ago and, in general, the popularity of soccer has been on the rise in recent years, professional soccer players on average still earn just a fraction of the salaries of other professional athletes. The average MLS player, in fact, pulls in the equivalent pay of a nice desk job.

In this infographic, we compare the salaries of the top-paid baseball, basketball, football, soccer and hockey players, take a look at salary caps and give you the average compensation for a professional in each of these sports.