Inside the MLS CBA numbers: Player salaries, team bonuses, more

Thursday February 4th, 2016

Almost a year after signing a new deal to avoid a work stoppage, the MLS players union published the entire MLS collective bargaining agreement on its website on Thursday. Included in the 84-page longread are some pretty specific numbers regarding what MLS players earn–and can earn–based on winning games and competitions. 

For starters, there's a vast difference in bonus money for teams winning MLS Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League, with domestic title winners earning $225,000 more than a potential regional champion from the league. Teams are also awarded $7,500 for each regular-season win, and the amount of money a team can earn for winning the Supporters' Shield will increase by almost 250% starting in 2017.

Those are just some of the details. The agreement, which lasts until January 31, 2020 also includes:


• MLS Cup Champion: $275,000

MLS Cup Runner-Up: $80,000

Supporters’ Shield Winner: 2015–2016: $55,000 (in lieu of, not addition to, the Conference Champion bonus or Qualify for Playoffs bonus) | 2017–2019: $130,000 (in lieu of, not addition to, the Conference Champion bonus or Qualify for Playoffs bonus)

Regular Season Conference Champion: $35,000 (in lieu of, not addition to, Qualify for Playoffs bonus)

Qualify for Playoffs: $20,000 (non-Conference Champion and non-Supporters Shield Winner)

Regular Season Game Winner: $7,500 (distributed on a monthly basis)


• U.S. Open Cup Champion: $250,000

• USOC Runner-Up: $60,000

• Canadian Championship Champion: $50,000

• CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Win: $3,000

• CCL Qualify for Group Stage: $40,000

• CCL Group Stage Win: $4,000

• CCL Team advances to quarterfinal: $35,000

• CCL Team advances to semifinal: $40,000

• CCL Team advances to final: $45,000

• CCL Team wins final: $50,000


The senior player minimum salary will increase by $2,500 every season, and by $2,750 between 2018 and 2019:

2015: $60,000

2016: $62,500

2017: $65,000

2018: $67,500

2019: $70,250

The reserve player minimum salary will increase by $1,500 every season, and by $1,750 between 2018 and 2019. Reserve players also receive a $500 bonus for first-team appearances and $750 bonus for first-team starts:

2015: $50,000

2016: $51,500

2017: $53,000

2018: $54,500

2019: $56,250


Team who miss the playoffs receive $250,000 in allocation money.

Expansion teams receive $1.1 million in allocation money.

Teams competing in non-MLS competitions receive $200,000 in allocation money.

Team may use up to $650,000 of money accrued in a transfer or loan outside of MLS as allocation money.


​The wording is vague, but it appears a potential tournament featuring USA and Mexico teams could be in the pipeline. From the CBA:

"US-Mexico Champions Cup (if played): MLS will pay the following bonuses which are not aggregate, unless prize money is awarded, in which case ... shall apply if it would result in a greater bonus:

• Team plays in Champions Cup: $100,000

• Team wins Champions Cup: $50,000

Other US-Mexico Tournament: If MLS creates a US-Mexico Non-Compulsory Tournament distinct from the US-Mexico Champions Cup, MLS will determine the bonus structure for such tournament after engaging in good faith negotiations with the Union."

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