Major League Rugby (MLR) is the professional rugby union league in the United States. It was founded in 2017 and currently has 13 teams across the country. MLR is one of the fastest growing sports leagues in the US, attracting fans, sponsors and media attention.
But how much do MLR players earn? What are the factors that influence their salaries? And how do they compare to other professional sports in the US?
Major League Rugby Salary in USA in 2023
In this article, we will answer these questions and more, based on the available information and estimates from various sources.
MLR Salary Cap
One of the main features of MLR is the salary cap, which is a limit on how much each team can spend on their players’ salaries. The salary cap is designed to ensure competitive balance among the teams and prevent one team from dominating the league by signing all the best players.
The salary cap for MLR in 2023 is $500,000, which means that no team can spend more than $500,000 on their entire roster’s salary. This amount is divided among 30 players per team, with a minimum of 10 domestic players and a maximum of 10 foreign players.
The salary cap does not include other benefits that teams may provide to their players, such as housing, transportation, medical insurance, bonuses, etc. These benefits are negotiated between the teams and the players individually.
MLR Salary Range
The salary range for MLR players varies depending on several factors, such as their skill level, experience, international caps, position, market value, etc. However, there are some general estimates that can give us an idea of how much MLR players make.
According to FluentRugby, the average salary for MLR players is $35,000 per year. The minimum salary for a player in the league is $15,000 for US players, and the average salary is around $20,000. Star players can earn up to a capped maximum of $45,000 per season, while senior players with international caps earn from $20,000 to $30,000, and mid-range players with several years of experience earn from $10,000 to $20,000.
According to Rugby Dome, star players in MLR earn up to a capped maximum of $45K per season. Senior players with international caps earn from $20K to $30K. Mid-range players with several years of experience earn from $10K to $20K. Part-time players are on a pay-to-play basis at minimum wage.
According to Glassdoor. the estimated total pay for a Rugby Player at Major League Rugby is $75,342 per year. Salaries for players range from $10,000 to about $25,000, with big-name imports getting around $40,000 plus perks like cheap or free accommodation.
MLR Salary Comparison
How do MLR salaries compare to other professional sports in the US? Obviously, MLR cannot compete with the massive earners in sports like the NFL and the NBA. However, we can compare MLR with other niche professional team sports.
According to Rugby Dome, here is a table that shows how MLR salaries stack up against Minor League Baseball (MiLB), Minor League Basketball (G League), and Minor League Hockey (AHL):
|League||Average Salary||Highest Salary|
|Major League Rugby||$25,000||$45,000|
|Minor League Baseball||$15,000||$46,000|
|Minor League Basketball||$39,201||$76,000|
|Minor League Hockey||$51,377||$103,604|
As we can see, MLR salaries are slightly higher than MiLB salaries but lower than G League and AHL salaries. However, these numbers do not include other benefits that may vary among different leagues and teams.
MLR Salary Supplement
Obviously, a $10K salary in Los Angeles is not enough to support any individual. However, there are several ways that MLR players can supplement their salaries. These include:
- Separate jobs and professions outside of the rugby season
- Coaching or teaching rugby at schools or clubs
- Endorsement deals or sponsorships from brands or companies
- Merchandise sales or personal branding
- Crowdfunding or donations from fans or supporters
Some MLR players have other careers or businesses that they pursue alongside their rugby careers. For example, Nate Augspurger of San Diego Legion is a co-founder of a coffee company called Augie’s Coffee. Ben Foden of Rugby United New York is a singer and reality TV star. Matt Giteau of LA Giltinis is a co-owner of a sports management company called Giteau Sports.
MLR Salary Conclusion
In conclusion, MLR salaries are not very high compared to other professional sports in the US, but they are enough to attract and retain talented players from around the world. MLR players also have other ways to supplement their incomes and pursue their passions outside of rugby.
MLR is still a young and growing league, and its salaries may increase in the future as the league expands and generates more revenue and exposure. MLR is also a great opportunity for players to showcase their skills and develop their careers in a competitive and exciting environment.
MLR Salary FAQs
Here are some of the most asked questions and answers about MLR salaries:
- Q: How much do MLR coaches make?
- A: There is no official information on how much MLR coaches make, but it is likely that they earn more than the average players. Some coaches may also have other roles or responsibilities within the teams or the league.
- Q: How much do MLR referees make?
- A: There is no official information on how much MLR referees make, but it is likely that they earn less than the average players. Referees may also have other jobs or professions outside of rugby.
- Q: How much do MLR owners make?
- A: There is no official information on how much MLR owners make, but it is likely that they do not make much profit from the league at this stage. Owners may have other sources of income or wealth from their businesses or investments.
- Q: How do MLR players pay taxes?
- A: MLR players pay taxes according to their residency status and income level. Players who are US citizens or residents pay federal and state taxes on their income. Players who are foreign nationals pay federal taxes on their US-sourced income and may also pay taxes in their home countries.
- Q: How do MLR players get visas?
- A: MLR players who are foreign nationals need to obtain visas to work and live in the US. The most common visa types for MLR players are P-1 visas (for athletes who are internationally recognized) and O-1 visas (for individuals who have extraordinary ability or achievement). The visa process may take several months and require sponsorship from the teams or the league.