MLB teams get paid more than NHL

Why Do NBA, NFL, and MLB teams get paid more than NHL players

Even as much as the NHL players go home with loads of money, they are paid less than the NBA, NFL, and MLB teams. There are different ways all these leagues make their revenue, so it is no surprise why they pay differently. This begs the question; Why Do NBA, NFL, and MLB teams get paid more than NHL players?

Most professional sports like the MLB, NBA, and NFL get their annual revenue from broadcasting TV rights, ticket sales, and advertisements. The NHL gets less revenue from these sources compared to the other sports. 

In this article, we will discuss the source of revenue of these sports and how much they make on average. 

What Is the source of revenue for the NHL?

The NHL revenue comes from ticket sales, broadcasting, merchandising, and sponsorships.

With average annual revenue of fewer than 5 billion dollars, the NHL is the smallest of the four major leagues in North America. 

Its lower broadcasting and sponsorship revenue in comparison to the other 3 leagues (NBA with 7.4 billion, NFL with 14 billion, and MLB with 9.5 billion) explains a lot.

The smaller overall financial pie that is shared between NHL players and owners results in a smaller amount of total salary paid out to players compared to other sports leagues in North America, such as NBA (2.1 billion), NFL (4.5 billion), and MLB (3.6 billion).

Read More: How Much Annual Revenue Does The NHL Get

Why Are NHL Players Paid Less?

To answer this question, you have to understand how the NHL works. Let’s start with the business stuff. Unlike most other sports leagues—the NFL, NBA, and MLB—the NHL does not have a revenue-sharing model. 

There’s no mechanism for one team’s profits to be shared across the league. Instead, it has a hard salary cap system: each team can only spend a certain amount on players’ salaries (for example, $75 million). 

If a team goes over that limit during the season, they are hit with “luxury taxes.” The salary cap is also calculated differently in the NHL than in other leagues: instead of taking a percentage of league revenue and dividing it by the number of teams (say 60%), it’s set two years in advance based on projections of hockey-related revenue—a number determined by ticket and merchandise sales as well as TV deals.

The salary cap floor is also different from other sports leagues; if all teams spend up to their allowed amount (in this case, $75 million), then each team would only have about $2-3 million dollars left over for things like stadium maintenance costs or player bonuses. 

So instead of being set at half the salary cap or some similar figure, it’s set at 50% of projected hockey-related revenues divided by 31 teams (because there are currently 31 teams in the league).

Read Also; What is the average salary of an NHL player? 

What is the source of revenue for the NBA?

The NBA makes its money from a list of sources. They included; 

  • Ticket sales 
  • Suites sales
  • Naming rights 
  • Local TV deals
  • League-wide media
  • Sponsorship 

What Is the Source of Revenue for the NFL?

The NFL gets its money from a long list of sources. With their average annual revenue at $14 billion, it is no surprise they have a big source of revenue. Their income sources include: 

  • League Revenue
  • Local Revenue
  • TV Revenue
  • Gate Revenue
  • Sponsorship Revenue
  • Merchandise Revenue
  • NFL Media Revenue
  • NFL Ticket Exchange

What Is the source of revenue for the MLB?

The MLB’s revenues come from several sources, including ticket sales, merchandising, television and radio deals, sponsorships, and other smaller revenue streams.

  • Ticket sales are the most important source of revenue for the MLB.
  • Merchandising is the second-most important source of revenue for the MLB.
  • TV and radio deals provide substantial amounts of money to teams throughout the league.
  • Sponsorship is also an important source of revenue for the MLB but less so than ticket sales or merchandising.

What Is The Average Revenue Of The NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL?

Professional sports would require big income from revenue to pay the players high. Income from tickets and TV Broadcasts are the main source of revenue for these leagues. 

However, they can generate as much as these sources of revenue bring. 

So, here is a breakdown of the average revenue of these sports leagues; 

  • NHL: $4.3 billion in revenues per year on average
  • NBA: $7.2 billion in revenues per year on average
  • NFL: $14 billion in revenues per year on average
  • MLB: $9 billion in revenues per year on average

So it turns out that the NHL is the least profitable of these four sports, with average revenue of just under $5 billion per year. The NBA has an average revenue of around $7 billion per year, and both the NFL and MLB make more than twice as much money as the NHL.


Professional sports teams can be paid as much as their league generates income. The average annual salary for a hockey player is about $2 million. Players in other leagues get more as they generate more money on TV broadcasts and ticket sales.

Also, NHL teams can have up to 23 players on their roasters, with 50 having a contract with the side. Other sports, such as the NBA, have fewer numbers of players and, as a result, give them a soft salary cap.  

So, the bottom line is the source, and the generation of revenue is the reason why NBA, NFL, and MLB teams do get paid more than NHL players. 

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