Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

The Economics behind MLS Player Salaries

mls team salaries 2018

Major League Soccer (MLS) has grown significantly in recent years, attracting top talent and raising the level of competition. As the league continues to evolve, so does the financial landscape. In this article, we will delve into the complex world of MLS player salaries, highlighting some interesting facts and figures.

The High Earners

When it comes to salaries, some players stand out from the rest. In 2018, Sebastian Giovinco was the highest-paid player in the league, earning a whopping $7,115,555.67. His teammate, Michael Bradley, followed closely behind with a salary of $6.5 million. Jozy Altidore, also from Toronto FC, secured the seventh-highest salary with $5 million.

Team Spending and Performance

Notably, the team with the highest payroll doesn’t always guarantee success on the field. Toronto FC boasted the highest payroll in 2018, totaling $26,559,206.65, yet finished in 19th place out of 23 teams. On the other hand, the Houston Dynamo, with the lowest combined salaries at $5,896,563.27, won the 2018 US Open Cup. This highlights the importance of team cohesion and effective management.

MLS Salaries on the Global Stage

While MLS salaries have been increasing rapidly, they still pale in comparison to the top leagues worldwide. In 2018, the total MLS salaries amounted to $261,123,321.48. To put it in perspective, the National Football League (NFL) spends a staggering $4.58 billion on player salaries. MLS ranks 13th overall, competing with renowned leagues such as the English Premier League (EPL) and La Liga.

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The MLS Salary Landscape

Within MLS, different teams have varying financial capabilities. Sporting KC had the highest-paid player in Felipe Gutierrez, earning a record-high $1,649,999.96 among SKC players. The salaries of other prominent SKC players, Johnny Russell and Krisztian Nemeth, followed closely. Tim Melia, the 2017 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, received $316,666.67 and ranked seventh among the league’s goalkeepers.

The Millionaires Club

In 2018, a total of 50 players in MLS earned $1 million or more. Interestingly, FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo were the only teams without a single player crossing the million-dollar mark. Even teams like FC Cincinnati, who were not yet in MLS, had players with million-dollar salaries. It’s worth noting that some players, like Ignacio Piatti of the Montreal Impact, had significantly higher guaranteed compensations than their base salary, indicating additional bonuses or incentives.


Q: Where can I find the complete list of MLS player salaries?
A: For detailed information on MLS player salaries, including the highest earners and team budgets, you can visit Pesstatsdatabase.

Q: How does MLS compare to other top leagues in terms of player salaries?
A: While MLS has experienced substantial growth, it still lags behind leagues like the NFL, MLB, NBA, and EPL in terms of overall salary expenditure.


MLS player salaries have become a fascinating aspect of the league’s evolution. A closer look reveals the influence of finances on team performance, the increasing competitiveness, and the league’s position on the global stage. With salaries continuing to rise, it will be intriguing to see how MLS further develops its financial landscape in the years to come.

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