First-team players at Manchester United are earning on average half a million pounds a year more than Premier League champions Manchester City, according to the Global Sports Salaries Survey.
United players are also picking up almost double what Tottenham are paying their first-team squad.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have become the first sports team to pay an average yearly salary of more than £10m.
Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United are also in the top 10 spenders.
The other six clubs in the top 10 all come from the NBA.
Clubs in the Premier League are paying, on average, more than top-flight football clubs in any other country per game, although cricket’s Indian Premier League and American football’s NFL top the spending on a per-game basis.
Premier League big spenders
Manchester City may have won the Premier League last season, but they come in behind Manchester United this term on wages with the Old Trafford club paying an average of £6,534,654 per year to first-team players.
City’s yearly bill comes in at £5,993,000, followed by Chelsea (£5,020,004), Liverpool (£4,862,963), Arsenal (£4,853,130) and Tottenham (£3,515,778).
Everton and West Ham follow closely behind Spurs, while Cardiff, Huddersfield and Burnley make up the bottom three – the Bluebirds are the only Premier League club to come in under £1m for the year.
That said, despite Burnley’s average annual first-team wage of £1,603,197 placing them third-bottom of the Premier League pile, the Clarets are still paying more than the likes of Ligue 1’s Monaco and Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.
“The two Manchester clubs, United and City, remain clear of the rest in basic pay terms according to our calculations,” say Sporting Intelligence, who conduct the survey.
“We thought last year that whichever of the pair achieved the most on the pitch would end up with the larger of the two overall wage bills (all staff) for 2017-18.
“In fact City won the league and had wages of £260m and United faltered but paid out £296m.”
City finished as champions ahead of United, but while Pep Guardiola’s side top the league again this campaign Jose Mourinho’s outfit have slipped to seventh.
Sporting Intelligence says this was largely down to United’s return to the Champions League, but do point out some of Manchester City’s wage bill appears under the City Football Group.
Barcelona break the £10 million mark
Not only have Barcelona become the first sports club in the world to pay an average of more than £10m a year to first-team players, the Spanish giants have also broken the £200,000-per-week barrier for the first time.
On average, first-teamers at the Nou Camp earn £10,454,259 a year, which translates to an average £201,043 per week.
European champions and La Liga rivals Real Madrid are second on the list with a yearly average of £8,089,582, with Italian side Juventus the third-highest paying football club at £6,726,615 on average per year.
Despite Barca and Real’s dominance on the pay scale, the average Premier League yearly salary remains 36% higher than that of La Liga and almost double the amount paid to players in Italy’s Serie A.
Basketball’s Oklahoma City Thunder are the highest-paying non-football club, closely followed by Golden State Warriors, while outside of football and basketball it is Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs who lead the way as the 30th highest-paying sports team.
IPL and NFL paying most per game
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Image caption Royal Challengers Bangalore paid £2m to retain India captain Virat Kohli in January
With just 14 games per season, the IPL tops the charts for the average pay per player, per game at £274,624, while the NFL comes in at £138,354 over 16 games.
In comparison, Premier League teams are paying their players an average of £78,703 per match during a 38-game season.
“Two notable things happened with IPL wages in 2018: they got bigger, and the outlay by different teams got closer together,” says Sporting Intelligence.
“A new five-year TV rights deal, concluded last year for £1.96bn for 2018-2022, has come on stream. That guarantees the medium-term future of an event that has often struggled for certainty.
“Uniquely, IPL salaries are pro-rated from weekly pay to annual pay because, again uniquely, IPL players typically have multiple different professional employers concurrently.
“The vast majority of other teams in other leagues contract their players for at least a year at a time. You simply don’t get NFL stars playing a season in the USA then another in Germany in the same year; or a Premier League player appearing freelance for six different teams in a campaign.”