Currently, Major League Soccer (MLS) is considered by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) as only the 37th strongest league in the world. However, MLS has attracted in recent years some stars who made most of their career in the main European leagues contributing to strengthen this sport in the United States and Canada.
When the 2013 season is starting, Football Industry presents an analysis of the salaries of the 2012 MLS players relating them with their participation in the competition.
MLS Players Union periodically reveals MLS players salaries, representing an unique action in the football world, stating as two of the main arguments the fact that it allows a greater equity between players and rewards those who contribute more to the evolution of MLS, and the greater bargaining power of players gained through this entity.
20 Highest Paid Players in 2012 MLS
In the following table are listed the 20 players with the highest annual base salaries of 2012 MLS. In this ranking there is, especially in the Top 10, a great predominance of players who made the most of their career in Europe, as is the case of Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez and David Beckham. There is also a significant difference between the highest paid (Thierry Henry, 3.8 million Euros) and the 10th ranked (Kenny Miller, 934.000 Euros). In this table, 10 players are midfielders, 9 are forwards and one is a defender. New York Red Bulls, LA Galaxy and Toronto FC are the most represented clubs.
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20 Players with the Highest Salary per Minute of the 2012 MLS
Relating the annual base salary of players with their participation throughout the season, we calculated their salary per minute (only for players who played at least 90 minutes in 2012). Thus, one can observe that Rafael Marquez was the player who received the highest amount per minute followed by Tim Cahill and Bakary Soumare who only played 90 minutes. From this list, 13 of the 20 players are part of the group of the 20 highest paid players presented earlier.
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Salaries of the 2012 MLS Clubs
When analyzing the clubs that participated in the 2012 MLS, there is a great disparity between New York Red Bulls and La Galaxy and the remaining MLS teams. Moreover, the clubs position in this ranking does not entirely reflect their performance in the regular phase of the competition (overall MLS table), although in the post season, New York Red Bulls reached the semi-finals and LA Galaxy won the competition. In the 2012 edition of MLS, the average annual base salary per club was 3.4 million Euros and 119.000 Euros per player.
Another important aspect is related with the fact that the 3 players with the highest annual base salary in New York Red Bulls squad represented 83% of their total annual base salary, being this value equal to 77% in the case of LA Galaxy.
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Salaries per Minute of the 2012 MLS Clubs
Finally, we analyzed the average salary per minute of the MLS players per club in 2012. As in the previous table, New York Red Bulls and LA Galaxy arise in the first two positions with an average annual base salary per minute played of 366 and 212 Euros, respectively.
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Notes: (1) Data from October 1, 2012; (2) Exchange Rate March 15, 2013: 1 USD = 0.764550 EUR; (3) For the purpose of analysis and simplification we only used players base salaries; (4) Were only considered players who participated in more than 90 minutes in 2012; (5) For the purpose of presenting clubs position in the regular phase of the competition, both conferences were aggregated.
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