Technically speaking

TO FIND OUT which teams shell out the most dough on their players, 294 teams in 15 major pro leagues, covering seven sports, spanning 12 countries, comprising 8,663 athletes making a combined $16.15 billion in salary were surveyed. Nick Harris, editor of Sportingintelligence.com, compiled the final numbers."Average Annual Pay" is calculated from base player salaries from current or most recently completed seasons from each sport. All totals exclude endorsements, performance bonuses, appearance fees and any other source of extra compensation. All figures converted to U.S. dollars. The lists include money paid in salaries to players who form the 'first-team squad' or active roster across a season. Salaries for the survey are taken from the following years:

MLB, MLS: 2014
NBA, NHL: 2013-14
NFL, CSL (Chinese Super League, soccer), NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball), AFL (Australian Football League) and CFL (Canadian Football League): 2013
EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and SPL: 2012-13
IPL (Indian Premier League, cricket): Annual pay extrapolated from 2013 tournament

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