Barcelona, Chelsea help football smash NBA, MLB as richest sport on planet

It was inevitable, but football is now the highest paying sport in the world.

In Barcelona and Real Madrid, football boasts the two highest paying clubs in world sport - even dumping the USA's richest baseball, basketball and American football franchises.

According to the Global Sports Salaries Survey 2011, the average annual first-team pay at Barcelona was £4.94m, or £95,081 a week. This made the current La Liga champions the world's best paid team by average salary.

Barcelona's bitter rivals Real Madrid came second on the list with their 'Galacticos' earning £4.6m a year on average.

The New York Yankees, now find themselves in third place where average earnings among first-team players were £4.2m a year.

Elsewhere in the top ten of best paid sports teams are basketball franchises the LA Lakers, Orlando Magic and Denver Nuggets, baseball side Boston Red Sox, Inter Milan of Serie A and big-spending Premier League teams Chelsea and Manchester City.

The wide ranging survey was compiled by sportinintelligence.com .

Their findings show the Premier League remains the world's richest football league, with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal joining Chelsea and Manchester City among the top 30 best paid teams. NBA teams occupy 10 of the top 30 places, MLB baseball teams occupy eight, La Liga, Serie A and the IPL occupy two each, and the Bundesliga one.

"We've know for years that the biggest bucks have been in American basketball and baseball but the rise and rise in wages among the elite of European football continues, closing that gap," says Nick Harris, the editor of sportingintelligence.com and author of the report.

BEST PAID SPORTING TEAMS:

1) Barcelona
League: La Liga
Average annual pay: £4,944,211
Average weekly pay: £95,081

2) Real Madrid
League: La Liga
Average annual pay: £4,597,895
Average weekly pay: £88,421

3) New York Yankees
League: MLB
Average annual pay: £4,222,688
Average weekly pay: £81,206

4) LA Lakers
League: NBA
Average annual pay: £4,087,931
Average weekly pay: £78,614

5) Orlando Magic
League: NBA
Average annual pay: £3,979,446
Average weekly pay: £76,528

6) Chelsea
League: Premier League
Average annual pay: £3,762,963
Average weekly pay: £72,365

7) Inter Milan
League: Serie A
Average annual pay: £3,749,777
Average weekly pay: £72,111

8) Boston Red Sox
League: MLB
Average annual pay: £3,744,502
Average weekly pay: £72,010

9) Denver Nuggets
League: NBA
Average annual pay: £3,743,859
Average weekly pay: £71,997

10) Manchester City
League: Premier League
Average annual pay: £3,664,741
Average weekly pay: £70,476

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