When it comes to sports, most people think of the athletes and their accomplishments and how much money they make. While it’s easy to assume that professional athletes are paid a lot for their abilities, some sports are actually more lucrative than others when it comes to salaries. In fact, certain sports are considered some of the highest-paid, with athletes making millions a year.
One of the highest-paid sports is basketball, and it’s no surprise why – the National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world. According to Forbes’ list of the World’s Highest-Paid Athletes 2019, 10 of the top 20 highest-paid athletes were NBA players, with Stephen Curry at the top of the list with earnings of $79.8 million. Basketball players can earn a variety of income, including a salary, performance bonuses, endorsements, and other forms of income. The average base salary for a NBA player is $6.2 million a year, while the maximum salary allowed is $36.8 million, with some stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant earning in excess of $30 million a year.
Football is another high-paid sport, though it is different than basketball in terms of how salary is structured. Football players in the National Football League (NFL) are most commonly paid by signing bonuses, roster bonuses, and performance bonuses awarded by their teams throughout the year. The average salary for NFL players is $2 million, but the top players can earn salaries in excess of $20 million. The NFL also has the highest annual salaries for individual players – Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott earned $33.5 million in 2019.
Tennis is also among the highest-paid sports, with some of the world’s best players making millions of dollars a year in prize money. The top 10 highest-earning tennis players in 2019 earned a combined $227.9 million, according to Forbes – Roger Federer was at the top of the list with total earnings of $93.4 million. According to the Tennis Industry Association, prize money for professional players has increased to over $150 million in 2019, with over $150 million in prize money to be divided between top players and their opponents. The highest paid male player can take home up to $3.5 million in prize money, while the highest paid female player can take home up to $2 million.
Golf is also considered one of the highest-paid sports, with some of the world’s best players making millions of dollars a year. According to the PGA Tour, the average official money earned per event by professional golfers is $489,128, which is more than double the amount of official money earned each event by tennis players. The total prize money for the PGA Tour has grown to over $360 million a year, and the 2019 Player of the Year, Brooks Koepka, earned over $15 million in official earnings alone. The world’s most successful golfers also make millions from sponsorship deals and endorsements, as players like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are known for having some of the highest endorsement earnings in professional sports.
And finally, soccer is one of the highest-paid sports, with some of the world’s best players earning millions of dollars a year. The average base salary of a Major League Soccer (MLS) player is around $400,000 a year, while the average salary of a Premier League player is around $2.7 million. The highest-paid players in the Premier League can earn in excess of $20 million a year, with some players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi making around $80 million a year. Soccer players can also receive bonuses and endorsements, which can increase their total earnings to over $50 million a year.
Overall, it’s no secret that professional athletes in some sports make a lot more money than others, and there are several sports that are considered some of the highest-paid. Basketball, football, tennis, golf, and soccer are some of the most lucrative sports, with top players making millions of dollars a year from their salaries, performance bonuses, and endorsements.
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“The world’s highest-paid athletes: 2019”. Forbes. Accessed on April 10, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2019/05/30/the-worlds-highest-paid-athletes-2019/#3d47b7e84b1e
“Tennis Industry Association”. Tennis Industry Association. Accessed on April 10, 2021. https://www.tennisindustry.org/
“Inside The Numbers Of The PGA Tour’s 2019 Official Money List”. Forbes. Accessed on April 10, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brianwacker/2020/01/02/inside-the-numbers-of-the-pga-tours-2019-official-money-list/#47e2f2b92210
“Average Major League Soccer Player Salaries”. Sports Knowledge. Accessed on April 10, 2021. https://www.sportsknowhow.com/soccer/playing-salaries/mls-player-salaries.html
“The Premier League’s Highest-Paid Players”. Sports Management Degree Guide. Accessed on April 10, 2021. https://www.sportsmanagementdegrees.org/the-premier-leagues-highest-paid-players/