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A Decade of Growth: Examining MLB Player Payroll PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 22 December 2009 18:05

MLBLate Monday, data was released by MLB that showed a total of $2.91 billion was spent on final player payroll for the 2009, an increase of 1.2 percent from the year prior when $2.87 billion was doled out. It was a slowing of growth – the chilly economy taking a chunk out of spending. But, how has spending on player payroll been over a longer period.

The graph and data below shows total league salary data from 1999 to 2009 as it pertains to end of year salaries (40 man rosters). Some key points of interest:

  • The large increase from 2002 to 2003 ($2,040,392,901 to $2,400,424,777, or an increase of 17.65 percent) occurred just after the first labor agreement to be reached without a work stoppage, a sign that owners saw labor peace as a stabilizing factor that would reap higher revenues in the future.
  • The two years (2004-‘05) after might well be considered adjustments after the giddy free spending in 2003.
  • In a case of going back to the future, the 17.55 percent increase from 2005 to 2006 is also tied to MLB and the MLBPA being able to hammer out what is the most current Basic Agreement ($2,496,687,254 to $2,711,274,581)
  • The league has steadily increased the amount spent on player payroll from 2005 to 2009 due to increased revenues.
  • When accounting for inflation, the increase in total dollars allocated to player payroll has increased 60 percent over the last decade ($1,155,296,843 in inflation adjusted player payroll for 1999 to $2,913,904,332 in 2009)
  • Finally, when summing all player payroll over the last decade, the 30 clubs spent a combined $24,882,572,662.

Select Read More to see total end of year player payroll for MLB from 1999 to 2009

End of Year Payroll



Final Payroll

% (+/-)

































Historical end of year player payroll data by way of The Associated Press

Final payrolls for the 30 major league teams, according to information received by clubs from the commissioner's office. Figures are for 40-man rosters and include salaries and pro-rated shares of signing bonuses, earned incentive bonuses, non-cash compensation, buyouts of unexercised options and cash transactions. In some cases, parts of salaries that are deferred are discounted to reflect present-day values.

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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