Sports Commissioner Salaries – the top five

by on Sep.13, 2010, under ALL, MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, OTHER

Who makes the most money as a sports commissioner? The NFL, NBA, NFL, GOLF, MLB?

Who’s the big COMMISH?

Keep reading and you will find out. The answer sure did surprise me!

No. 1 Bud Selig, MLB Commissioner

Don’t you wish he was your bud? Ok that was lame, but what isn’t lame is making the type of money that Bud Selig makes as Major League Baseball Commissioner. Selig earned $18.35 million dollars in 2007 alone. He made $17.47 million in base compensation, $461,540 in employee benefits, and another $422,590 in expense allowances.

Why does he make more money than the other commissioners? Baseball has grown a lot less than the NBA and NFL since Selig has had his reign. Also he has had labor problems, steroid problems and all-star game issues all occur under his watch.

Only 10 players make more than the commissioner. Seems very unreasonable to me, especially looking at the value he has added to the league compared to his salary. I’m sure he writes his own checks.

No. 2 Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner

Roger Goodell is the National Football League Commissioner, one of the most profitable sports leagues in the world. The NFL generated over $8 billion of revenue last year, and the most popular sport in the US.

Goodell made $11 million in compensation last year. He has frozen his compensation for the year, as a move to cut operating costs. He also took a 25 percent pay cut the previous year. What a team player.

Goodell fairly recently has taken over as commissioner, taking over Paul Taglibue’s job after he left. Goodell is working to clean up the players image and has cracked down on misconduct by players, most notably Michael Vick.

Although Goodell seems like a nice guy by giving himself a pay cut, don’t mess around with him, or you will get suspended!

No. 3 David Stern, NBA Commissioner

National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern and Michael Jordan are given credit for the rise of the NBA to the height of it’s popularity during the 90′s. David Stern was the highest paid commish during the 90′s but has since been surpassed.

The NBA doesn’t publicly release salary figures of David Stern, but it is beleived he receives an annual salary of $10 million. Stern does a great job of keeping labor peace and growing the NBA brand and the sport of basketball around the world. Bud should take some notes from this guy.

No. 4 Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner

If you didn’t know, there is a National Hockey League in the US. It is a game where people shoot a puck into goals while skating on ice. And the CEO of the league made $7.2 million last year. This league has struggled with labor problems and many financial issues.

Still the CEO makes more than every player except for only 11 players. Can you name 11 players in the NHL? Come on Gary, take a page out of Roger Goodell’s book and don’t take out so much money from a league that may not be financially stable for much longer.

The NHL’s television ratings are not as strong as the other leagues’ and regular season games are no longer carried by major networks. Bettman has seen his compensation escalate as the NHL struggles.

No. 5 Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner

Timmmmmmayyyy! (Southpark reference) Professional Golf Association Tour Commissioner rounds off the Top 5 sports commissioner list. Tim’s salary was flat at $1.3 million last year. With performance bonuses, he totaled $5.3 million in total compensation.

With the help of Tiger Woods and Elin Wo~~ errrrrr Nordegren, Finchem has been responsible for doubling the PGA’s revenues over the last 10 to 15 years. It has grown from under 1/2 billion to nearly $1 billion in 2007. The PGA is no longer just a niche sport, but a major sport now.


Superstar athletes can only make big money for about 10 years or so. It’s time to rethink your dreams and become commissioner. You can be pulling in $15 million for over 20 years, and not so much wear and tear on your body!

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