Professional baseball players playing in the MLB make more money than football players in the NFL. The average MLB salary in 2020 was 4.03 million per year. The average NFL salary in 2020 was 3.26 million per year.
Of the major four sports leagues in the United States baseball earns the second most and football earns the third most.
The NBA takes the top spot on the list with an 8.32 million per year average salary. While the NHL sits fourth with an average salary of 2.69 million.
Why do baseball players earn more than football players?
Below we will break down some of the major reasons that baseball players earn more than football players on average.
Lack of salary cap
Arguably the main reason why baseball players are paid more than football players is due to the lack of salary cap in the MLB.
In the NFL there is a set salary cap that teams must abide by in order to play. If a team is over the salary cap they must cut players in order to make their team eligible.
This results in a lowering of players’ salaries as the team’s total salary must stay under the salary cap limit.
In the MLB there is no salary cap. Instead, teams who spend large sums of money on players must pay a luxury tax to acquire these players.
The teams spending the most money tend to have deep pockets which means they often pay off this tax without a second thought.
This results in baseball players getting paid more money as there is no salary limit that all teams abide by.
More games per season
Another reason MLB players make more on average than NFL players is due to the number of games that are played in a season.
In the MLB each team is going to play a total of one hundred and sixty two regular-season games.
The NFL on the other hand plays a total of seventeen regular-season games. This difference in games played results in a big difference in league revenue.
Selling tickets, merchandise, and television deals to all these games mean baseball players are generating a lot of money for their team.
It also gives the MLBPA more bargaining power when deciding on the CBA.
Smaller roster size
Another key reason why baseball players make more than football players is because of the difference in roster size between the two sports.
In the NFL teams are going to have an active roster of fifty-three players. In the MLB the starting roster is only going to be twenty-five.
This means the payroll in football is getting spread amongst twice as many players as it does in baseball.
This means if a team in each league commits to putting 100 million into players’ salaries the baseball players are going to be paid much better.
This is also why the NBA is the leader in terms of how much an average player gets paid. With the smallest roster size of the four major sports leagues in North America basketball is able to pay its players the most.
If you enjoyed this article check out our guide on who is paid more football players or basketball players.