Manchester City have been revealed as the best-paid team in world sport in a survey conducted by Sporting Intelligence and ESPN the Magazine.
The Capital One Cup winners’ first-team players earn on average $8.1 million (5.3 million pounds) per year, putting them just ahead of two baseball teams, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
City’s overall team payroll, of 202 million dollars, is the third highest, behind the Yankees and the Dodgers, who spent 241 million dollars on salaries, but the 2012 Premier League champions’ average income is the highest.
It represents a 256 percent increase in salaries over the last five years at the Etihad Stadium, although the mean wage for a first-team player only rose 0.6 percent in the 2012-13 season.
Their biggest earners that year, when they were runners-up in the Premier League and the FA Cup and failed to get out of the Champions League group stages, included Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, David Silva and Yaya Toure.
The survey comes at a time when City’s finances are under scrutiny amid reports they will fail UEFA’s financial fair play (FFP) regulations, although the club are confident they will pass the test.
After City, the football clubs with the highest average salaries are Real Madrid and Barcelona, where players’ incomes of $7.58 million and $7.44 million respectively put them fourth and fifth in the sporting world, while Bayern Munich are seventh.
Manchester United are the second Premier League club to feature on the list. They stood eighth after the average wage went up to $6.56 million per year when they acquired Robin van Persie.
However, Chelsea dropped two places to 10th on the list after a three percent reduction in the average wage to $6.05 million.
Arsenal, at $5.92 million per player, were ranked 11th while the current league leaders Liverpool, at $5.17 million, were only 20th.
Wigan, who won the FA Cup and were relegated last season, had the lowest average payroll of any Premier League club in 2012-13, with wages of $1.75 million per player putting them 166th in the table.
The survey took into account 294 teams in seven sports, across 15 leagues and 12 countries, and covered 8,663 sportsmen who earned a total of 16.15 billion dollars between them.
All figures for English, Spanish, Italian and German football clubs relate to the 2012-13 season.