The explosion of the popularity of sports over the past 30 years or so was something few people could have foreseen back in the 70s and early 80s. Not only are sports teams worth millions, and in a special few cases, billions, top athletes in a variety of sports today earn wages that would make CEOs of Fortune 500 companies green with envy.
The advent of advertising coupled with the broadcasting and telecasting breakthroughs that we've achieved in the past 30 years has, in a lot of countries, transformed the way sports are looked at today. The Olympics, which were supposed to be pristine hunting grounds for amateur sportspersons when they were revived, are now exclusively participated in by professionals at the top of their respective sports.
The best teams in the world in any sport today are usually the ones that can afford to pay the highest wages. North American leagues have dabbled in placing salary caps in order to control owners' spending, and the aim of levelling the playing field has worked to varying degrees of success in sports like basketball, baseball and American football.
The following 10 teams court the highest wage bill in all of the sports:
#10 Manchester United
Previous Rank: No. 23 (worldwide)
Average annual salary: £6.5 million ($8.3 million)
Highest-paid player: Alexis Sanchez (£23 million
While United are seemingly no longer a destination for the very best players in the world, they have a plethora of financial clout in terms of attracting wantaway players. This is proved amply by their last big-name signing, Alexis Sanchez, whom they're currently paying over $500,000 a week for playing the backup role to the likes of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata.
United's wage structure has seemingly caused a lot of dissent in their locker room according to various reports over the summer, and the Sanchez situation will allow a lot of players to extract a King's ransom when they sit down to negotiate their next contracts with the club.