It is a good time to be involved in Major League Baseball. Over the last five years, teams have increased in value by 146 percent. Last year, the average team took in a record $23 million in profit.
Players are making more than ever as well. This season, there will be 45 players taking the field with $100 million contracts. The NFL, MLB, and NHL combined only have 20. Of those 45 players, 36 of them will be making $20 million or more this season. No NHL player makes $20 million a season, and only 25 in the NBA and NFL do.
Five baseball players will be making $30+ million in salary.
The NBA has a player bringing in $71 million, another bringing in $56.2 million, one making $50 million, and five in the $30 million range. The NFL had one guy take home close to $50 million last season, another $38.6 million, and ten between $20-29 million.
So, how can baseball players make so much more on the field than football and basketball players, but so many NBA and NFL players make as much or more than baseball players?
The answer is in the endorsements. Peyton Manning's salary was $15 million last season, and he made another $12 million in endorsements. LeBron James made $23 million on the court and another $48 million off of it. A handful of guys in the NBA actually make more off the court than they do on it.
For some reason, baseball players just don't get the same kind of endorsement opportunities as football and basketball players. Robinson Cano leads MLB's top earner's list with just $3 million. Several of the top earners don't even make $1 million from endorsements.
Does that bother them? No way! As high as their salaries are, many of them probably could care less about endorsements.
The top 10 highest paid players in the MLB are as follows:
10. Ryan Howard, First Baseman, Philadelphia Phillies: $25.6 million ($25 million salary; $600,000 endorsements)
9. CC Sabathia, Pitcher, New York Yankees: $25.7 million ($25 million salary; $700,000 endorsements)
8. Josh Hamilton, Outfielder, Texas Rangers: $26.2 million ($26 million salary; $150 endorsements)
7. Robinson Cano, Second Baseman, Seattle Mariners: $27 million ($24 million salary; $3 million endorsements)
6. Albert Pujols, First Baseman, Los Angeles Angels: $27 million ($25 million salary; $2 million endorsements)
5. Yoenis Cespedes, Outfielder, New York Mets: $28.1 million ($27.5 million salary; $600,000 endorsements)
4. Justin Verlander, Pitcher, Detroit Tigers: $28.6 million ($28 million salary; $600,000 endorsements)
3. Miguel Cabrera, First Baseman, Detroit Tigers: $30 million ($28 million salary; $2 million endorsements)
2. David Price, Pitcher, Boston Red Sox: $30.5 million ($30 million salary; $500,000 endorsements)
1. Clayton Kershaw, Pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers: $32.8 Million ($32 million salary; $800,000 endorsements)