Highest Paid Sports in the World

If we know one thing about sports stars, they make a lot of money, especially when they are at the top of their game!  

But which sport pays the most?

Here is the list of highest-paid sports in the World.

  1. Basketball – an average of US$7.7 million per year;
  2. Soccer- an average of US$3.97 million for EPL in 2019/20;
  3. American Football – US$860,000 median wage;
  4. Golf – An average PGA player made US$1,485,055 in 2021;
  5. Boxing – Between US$22,000 and US$37,000 per year;
  6. Auto-Racing – F1 Drivers earnings range from $500k to $50M per year;
  7. Tennis – an average of US$254,394.55 for WTA players in 2021 
  8. Ice Hockey –  an average of US$2,554,463 for the 2020-21 season;
  9. Baseball – an average of US$4.43 million for MLB players in 2020;
  10. Wrestling – an average of US$51,537 per year as of 2021.

Most Popular Sports in the World

Basketball 

highest-paid-sports

Basketball is currently the highest-paid sport in the world. Not only do the best players in the league earn millions per year in their salary, but they make large amounts of money from various sponsorships and endorsements as well. 

In 2021, NBA basketball players earned an average of $7.7 million per year. That is some serious money, and those are just average figures! If you look into the highest-paid basketball superstars, numbers are out of the park. 

For the 2021/22 season:

  • Stephen Curry’s salary stands at $45,780,960. 
  • James Harden, John Wall, Russel Westbrook, and Kevin Durant follow closely, earning around $41 million. 

Soccer

highest-paid-sports

Football, commonly known around the world as soccer, brings entertainment to a huge fan base across the globe, which makes it the most popular sport globally.

When it comes to earnings, top professional footballers earn performance-related bonuses on top of their six figures per week for playing in prestigious leagues like the Premier League or La Liga. However, many players still move to countries like China or Qatar due to the high wages being offered over there.

If you’re wondering how much the big dogs are earning, just take a look at Lionel Messi. Thanks to the generous PSG deal, his salary is one of the highest in the industry, currently standing at a staggering $41 million. 

American Football 

highest-paid-sports

American Football makes no exception when it comes to sky-high salaries. The median wage for all players in the NFL is $860,000. That’s not the starting wage, though. A first-year rookie will have a minimum payment of $435,000 per year, which is definitely not a bad starting wage in the sports industry.

Let’s take a quick look at the salaries of some of the top underdogs:

  • Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs is one of the highest-paid athletes with $45 million per year. 
  • Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills takes home a tidy $43 million. 
  • Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys is right behind, making $40 million per year. 

Golf 

highest-paid-sports

Golfing salaries are a bit different, given how golf is an individual sport. On average, good golfers earn over $2 million per year. However, they will have plenty of opportunities to increase their earnings based on the competitions they enter and the sponsorship deals they sign. 

However, to illustrate just how big it can get, take a look at some of the highest-paid golfers:

  • Tiger Woods – $2.1 billion
  • Arnold Palmer – $1.5 billion
  • Jack Nicklaus – $1.38 billion
  • Phil Mickelson – $1.08 billion
  • Greg Norman – $815 million

Boxing 

highest-paid-sports

Overall, boxing isn’t a well-paid sport, but its top players make some serious money. For instance, superstars like Canelo Alverez and Anthony Joshua put on significant PPV events, bringing them millions. They can also capitalize on great sponsorship and endorsement opportunities. However, if you’re at the bottom of the food chain, you will be earning between $22,000 and $37,000 per year. But if you happen to be on the top, like Floyd Mayweather is, you might earn around $300 million per fight.

Auto racing 

highest-paid-sports

There are lots of different types of auto sports. However, the most paid sport is actually the most expensive one – Formula 1.

Just take a look at some of the most popular Formula 1 driver.

  • Hamilton is the best-paid driver with seven championships and $30 million per year.
  • Next, we have Max Verstappen, who earns $25 million per year. 
  • Former World Champions Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel are some of the sports’ highest earners of all time.

Tennis 

highest-paid-sports

Similarly to the majority of athletes, especially in individual sports, tennis players earn their salaries based on their performance. 

  • Players ranked between 500 and 1,000 worldwide make around $6,996 from the sport per year. 
  • Players ranked between 50 and 100 globally earn an average of $510,456. 
  • Finally, the top five tennis players in the world make $7,973,904 a year on average. A hell of a salary, eh?

Ice Hockey 

highest-paid-sports

Ice hockey is another sport that pays very well, thanks to the NHL.

For the 2019/20 season, the Minnesota Wild paid their players the most, with an average of $3.32 million. On the other side of the spectrum, players of the Toronto Maple Leafs earned an average of $1.54 million per season.

Baseball 

highest-paid-sports

Baseball is one of the richest sports globally, considering the average salaries, thus earning its rightful place on our list.

According to the most recent sports news, players in the MLB earned an average income of $4.17 million during 2021. This represents a decrease in comparison with previous years. It is believed that the salary of a basketball player has dropped by around 4.8 percent compared with 2019. However, we cannot deny that they still earn a pretty tidy wage.

Wrestling

highest-paid-sports

The average yearly income for a professional wrestler is $51,537. However, those in the WWE earn considerably more.

Some of the sport’s highest-paid stars include Brock Lesnar, who makes $9.3m, John Cena, who reaches $6.6m, and Roman Reigns, who earns $3.9m. Becky Lynch is the highest-paid female on the roster at the moment, taking home $1m per year. Of course, many stars earn more than this from endorsement deals. 

Before we Bounce off

We hope you enjoyed our insight into the top 10 paying sports in the world.  It’s safe to say professional sports players are getting paid some serious money. The better they earn, the bigger their rewards can be, with huge sponsorship and endorsement opportunities topping up players’ wages. 

If you want to place your bets on one of these popular sports, check out our selection of best Canadian sports betting sites!

FAQ

What sport makes the most money?

You may not be surprised to learn that basketball is the highest-paid sport in the world. Not only do the best players in the league earn millions per year in their salary, but they make large amounts of money from their various sponsorships and endorsements as well.

Who gets paid more NFL or NBA?

On average, basketball players earn more than football players. An NBA player’s average salary reached US$7.7 million, whereas NFL players made a medium wage of US$860,000.

ABOUT AUTHOR

I am a psychologist working as a freelance writer. My texts mainly revolve around mental health, psychopathology, and psychotherapy. There are so many interesting things in this world, but to me being human and what it means to be a human are perhaps the most interesting questions of all. I’m also interested in history, philosophy, and geopolitics. It may not seem so, but these three fields work very well with psychology, if you have the right mindset.

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