More than what we paid for
This week, Sportingintelligence released their annual Global Sports Salaries Survey (GSSS), providing insight into how pay varies across top sports leagues.
The inclusion of average first team pay in the big 5 European leagues means we can, using our World Super League (which ranks teams globally according to how good they are), compare teams on a like-for-like basis and assess which clubs are getting the biggest bang for their buck.
While we often think of small-budget teams overachieving, the three biggest overachievers vs pay were Atlético Madrid, Tottenham and Barcelona, with Getafe and Atalanta – who are in some cases as good as teams paying four times as much – not far behind. For some, wealth has not given way to complacency.
The relative efficiency of these clubs is notable in part due to the inefficiency of many (and often, but not exclusively English) mid-budget teams, highlighting how sport is a zero-sum industry.
For the overachievers, there may be challenges when their players argue they deserve greater pay for their performance, provided this isn’t covered in variable pay. For everyone else though, they serve as role models, because regardless of their budget they have been able to overachieve due to factors including youth development (e.g. Atalanta), to recruitment and coaching (e.g. Atlético) to a clear club philosophy (e.g. Barcelona).
The imperfect relationship between wins and pay means there are inefficiencies to exploit, regardless of how much we have to pay our players.