A wide variety of leagues exist in the world of professional soccer, each with its own history, rules, and economics.

When compared to the traditional club structure of the Championship, Major League Soccer’s wage cap and single-entity structure encourage financial stability and parity, respectively. Knowing how teams in these two major leagues on different continents use resources and pay players can shed light on the state of the global game.

The competitiveness and appeal of both global soccer leagues will be heavily influenced by the shifting nature of club payrolls as both leagues continue to develop. Here we examine the economics of the English Football League (EFL) Championship and Major League Soccer (MLS) to draw comparisons between the salaries of the teams in both leagues.

MLS is single organization

In contrast to other soccer leagues throughout the globe, Major League Soccer is organized as a single organization. Under this system, rather than individual teams, all player contracts would belong to the league.

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Since the league foots the bill for player pay, teams need not worry about outbidding one another in the salary market. The original intent of this method was to prevent clubs from becoming bankrupt due to excessive expenditure. To prevent a small number of teams from dominating the league financially, MLS places a wage ceiling on all clubs.

Comparing MLS payrolls to Championship clubs

However, in the English Football League Championship, each team is responsible for its own budgeting and administrative tasks. Teams are allowed to set their terms when it comes to player contracts, transfer fees, and salaries.

The Championship does not have a wage cap on payrolls like MLS. Therefore, teams with more financial resources may compete for and sign higher-profile players. In fact, English clubs dominate the top positions with six out of the top eight spots, while MLS clubs show a strong presence, occupying 17 out of the top 25 spots in the ranking, as per MLS Buzz.

  1. Leicester City: $79.7m
  2. Southampton: $66.7m
  3. Leeds United: $55m
  4. West Bromwich Albion: $26m
  5. Toronto: $25.7m
  6. Watford: $23.9m
  7. LA Galaxy: $23.5m
  8. Norwich City: $22.6m
  9. Atlanta: $21.3m
  10. D.C United: $20m
  11. Austin FC: $19.9m
  12. Chicago: $19.5m
  13. Seattle: $18.9m
  14. New England: $18.9m
  15. Miami: $18.1m
  16. Los Angeles FC: $17.5m
  17. Houston: $17.3m
  18. Cardiff City: $17m
  19. Columbus: $16.1m
  20. Kansas City: $15.5m
  21. New York City: $15.5m
  22. Cincinnati: $15.1m
  23. Bristol City: $15m
  24. Portland: $14.5m
  25. Dallas: $14.4m
  26. Middlesbrough: $14.2m
  27. Nashville: $14m
  28. Charlotte: $13.5m
  29. Hull City: $13.4m
  30. Colorado: $13.1m
  31. San Jose: $13m
  32. Philadelphia: $12.8m
  33. Vancouver: $12.7m
  34. Minnesota: $12.3m
  35. Sheffield Wednesday: $12.4m
  36. Huddersfield Town: $12.1m
  37. Salt Lake: $12.1m
  38. Swansea City: $11.6m
  39. Birmingham City: $11.3m
  40. Orlando: $11.2m
  41. New York Red Bulls: $11.2m
  42. Preston North End: $11m
  43. St. Louis: $10.9m
  44. Ipswich Town: $10.6m
  45. Montreal: $10.5m
  46. Stoke City: $10m
  47. Sunderland: $9.1m
  48. Millwall: $8.6m
  49. Blackburn Rovers: $8.5m
  50. Queens Park Rangers: $8.4m
  51. Rotherham United: $6.4m
  52. Coventry City: $5.2m
  53. Plymouth Argyle: $2.9m