LeBron James had the nation’s attention for a full hour this past week with his announcement that he will be joining the Miami Heat next season. Bottom line: Over the next five years, James will reportedly earn around $100 million — and that’s just on the payroll. Endorsements are extra. Not to mention income from investments and other business ventures. You get the picture – and it’s got a lot of zeroes. It brings notice to James’ peers: professional athletes in the soccer, hockey, football and baseball leagues. Few surprises there, it turns out: it pays to be a
basketball or baseball star; soccer… not so much. Even though the U.S. national soccer team was the center of attention until a couple of weeks ago and, in general, the popularity of soccer has been on the rise in recent years, professional soccer players on average still earn just a fraction of the salaries of other professional athletes. The average MLS player, in fact, pulls in the equivalent pay of a nice desk job.