Jose Colorado

Helping basketball players achieve their pro dreams.

Overseas Basketball Salaries: Nicaragua Basketball League [Player Survey]


  • Monthly Salary Ranges: Below $500USD - Above $5000USD

  • Most Common Monthly Salary: $1,501 - $1,999USD (27%)

  • Lowest Reported Monthly Salary: Below $500 (8%)

  • Highest Reported Monthly Salary: Above $5000USD (5%)

  • Salary Ranking in Central America Pro Basketball: No.1

  • Import Pro Players Surveyed: 50

In Nicaragua, the most common professional basketball salary for import players is between $1,501 - $1,999USD per month with 27% of players reporting their income in this bracket.

Close behind is the $2000 - $2500USD salary range as 25% of players reported their monthly playing income in this bracket.

According to our global overseas basketball salaries data, this makes Nicaragua the highest paying country for men’s professional basketball in Central America.


All dollars are in USD. Scale is based out of 100.

Nicaragua PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE SALAries: La Liga Superior de Baloncesto

 As of today, Nicaragua has one main professional basketball league:

La Liga Superior de Baloncesto (LSB)

When thinking salaries in Nicaragua, know this:


And not by Central American standards.

But legit BIG MONEY.

Real Esteli is a:

  • 2x LSB champion (2018, 2019)

  • Central American Club Championship (COCABA) Winner (2018)

  • Became the first Central American club team to win a game at the Basketball Champions League Americas (BCLA) - the toughest competition in pro club basketball in the Americas

  • Became the first Central American club to advance to the BCLA quarter-finals

As you can imagine, competing against some of the best clubs in the Americas takes some deep pockets.

Just consider the expenses:

  • Regular flights across the continent for games

  • Hotel stay before and after games

  • Attracting high-quality imports

  • Attracting high-quality coaches

  • Marketing and presenting the club professionally


But the LSB’s salaries are more than just Real Esteli (RE).

In fact, with 52% of reported salaries landing in the $1,501 - $2,501 range, there is considerable evidence to support the idea that a number of teams in the LSB can pay players a decent wage.

In speaking with agents, managers, former coaches and players, I am told that outside of Real Esteli, players should be contacting the following teams if looking for a nice pay day:

  • Indigenas de Matagalpa

  • Brumas de Jinotega

  • UNAN de Leon

How are so many teams able to pay competitive salaries?

The LSB has a few huge factors going in its favor:

  1. No Salary Cap

  2. League is heavily subsidized by the federal government

  3. New State-of-the-Art Stadium “Polideportivo Alexis Arguello” (2017)

There is another side to the coin though.

On the lower end of things, 19% of import players reported receiving a monthly salary below $1000USD.

But with 3 expansion teams in Tigres de Chinandega, Bufalos de Managua and UNAN Leon coming into the LSB in 2020, this can be expected.

In fact, when I was recently negotiating with one of these teams representatives, their final offer fell right into that lower range at $800.

Some Nicaragua professional basketball teams can’t offer much in basketball salaries for overseas players.

Some Nicaragua professional basketball teams can’t offer much in basketball salaries for overseas players.


A key exception would be UNAN de Leon.

They are an extension of its university affiliate - UNAN Leon - Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicargua - allowing for higher wages.

LSB pro basketball teams in Nicaragua can vary in how much they pay in salaries to overseas players.

LSB pro basketball teams in Nicaragua can vary in how much they pay in salaries to overseas players.

Photo credit: LSB Facebook page

One final thing to remember:

The LSB is the only professional league in Central America that allows for import-trades mid-season.

So instead of teams having to send players home and sweating over financial details such as:

  • The round-trip flight costs for the new import

  • The VISA requirements for the new import

  • The return-trip flight for the underperforming import being sent home

…they can simply find a suitable trading partner and keep going with their season.

In the end then, every import player - in theory - could be benefitting from this rule indirectly.


One big downside in Nicaragua is that the league is only held once a year.

The LSB runs roughly from July - October/Early November (5 months)

That means players can get a nice payday for a few months but it won’t last the whole year.

Let’s do the math:

  • The most commonly reported salary range is $1,501 - $1,999USD

  • The middle of that range is $1750

  • Multiply [$1750x5] for the number of months in the season

And in the end we can conclude…

THE AVERAGE foreign PLAYER’S YEARLY INCOME, IF HE WERE TO PLAY professional basketball ONLY IN Nicaragua, WOULD BE $8,750USD

Don’t worry:

It can get better.

Key word being can.

Because Nicaragua’s leagues run towards the end of the year, that means players from the winning team are well positioned to stay another month.


In December there is (usually) a Central American Club Championship - known as COCABA.

Here, the best teams in Central America compete for a berth to play in the highly prestigious Basketball Champions League of the Americas (BCLA).

Real Esteli and Nicaragua won the last one in 2018.

The good part of COCABA is:

  1. Extra money

  2. The winning team from each country does not necessarily have to take its same imports for the tournament

In other words:

If you are having a great season but don’t win the LSB championship, you could still hypothetically get picked by up the winning team from the LSB to play as an import in COCABA.

In fact:

This happened in 2019 as Real Esteli changed many of its imports after having won the championship.

One other way to increase your pay/stay in Nicaragua would be to play in the local national tournament known as the Torneo Carlos Ulloa.

In order for this to work, though, you must hold Nicaraguan citizenship.


If we are to compare the four-best paying basketball countries in Central America when it comes to average salary then it looks like this:

Most Common Salary Reported amongst 4 best-paying central american countries

All dollars are in USD. Most commonly reported salary range was split in the middle to come up with each salary for the purposes of this bar chart.

When it comes to highest reported salary:

Highest reported salary amongst 4 best-paying Central American Countries

All dollars are in USD

With such little difference between El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama, it’s easy to see why roughly 65% of our insiders couldn’t even make an educated guess as to the highest paying country in Central America.

Others assumed it would be Panama simply based on its outstanding level of basketball (ranked No.47 in the FIBA world rankings).

Nicaragua pays the biggest salaries for pro basketball in Central America.

My data still points to Nicaragua having a slight edge.

A few reasons why I think this is:

  1. Real Esteli’s huge budget inflates the league’s overall salary average

  2. With the government heavily subsidizing the league, teams are freed up from usual expenses (no other Central American league has this luxury)

  3. The import-trade rule helps teams reduce costs & focus on higher salaries

With that being said, understand a few things:

  • These surveys and data cannot be taken with absolute certainty

  • I cannot account for players answering truthfully with such sensitive information

  • The sample size isn’t the biggest but it gives us a solid foundation to learn from

Yet after having verified with hundreds of insiders and being deeply involved in this region for years, I am pretty confident in saying that Nicaragua is the No.1 country in Central America when it comes to professional basketball salaries.

Nicaragua Basketball Salaries Recap:

  • Players can earn anywhere from below $500USD - Above $5000USD on a monthly basis

  • Nicaragua’s only professional and paying basketball league is the LSB

  • Real Esteli BC pays the most to its players - both internationals and locals

  • Expect about 5 months of pay in Nicaragua pro basketball (possibility of 6)

  • Nicaragua ranks No.1 in Central American pro basketball salaries

Have any questions about Nicaragua basketball salaries?

Drop a comment below and let me know.

Jose Colorado, professional basketball player, talks overseas basketball salaries in Nicaragua.

Jose Colorado is a five-year professional basketball player helping others achieve their goals of pro basketball through a proven, research-based approach.