Sunday, 21 Jul 2024

The Highest Paid Sports in the World: A Closer Look

Have you ever wondered which sport offers the highest salaries to its athletes? There are several contenders for this title, including boxing, basketball, and soccer. However, determining the highest paid sport requires more than just looking at individual salaries. It’s about analyzing the overall compensation package, including sponsorships and endorsements. In this article, we’ll explore the top five highest paying sports in the world, based on average salaries.

5. The FA Premier League (Soccer)

Average Salary: $1.6 million

The FA Premier League, the most popular soccer league globally, sets the stage with an average salary of $1.6 million. While top players like Wayne Rooney may earn substantial salaries, the large number of teams and players in the league affects the overall average. Nevertheless, soccer remains a rewarding sport for its athletes.


4. American Football (NFL)

Average Salary: $2 million

American Football, commonly known as NFL, boasts an average salary of $2 million. Though it may come as a surprise that it’s not higher on the list, factors such as the NFL’s limited geographic appeal and the larger number of teams and players affect the average salary. Nonetheless, individual players like Aaron Rodgers earn impressive incomes, ensuring that American football remains a financially rewarding sport.

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American Football

3. Ice Hockey (NHL)

Average Salary: $2.58 million

Ice Hockey, popular in the USA, Canada, and Europe, ranks third in our list with an average salary of $2.58 million. Despite generating lower revenue compared to other major sports leagues, the NHL’s lesser number of teams and players contribute to a higher average salary figure. Players like Shea Weber, who earned a reputed $14 million per year, exemplify the lucrative opportunities available in ice hockey.

Ice Hockey

2. Major League Baseball

Average Salary: $3.82 million

Major League Baseball (MLB) holds the second spot with an average salary of $3.82 million. This sport enjoys immense popularity not only in the USA but also in countries like Japan. MLB players not only earn high wages but also boost their income through sponsorships and endorsements. With increasing revenue and growing player incomes, baseball has the potential to challenge for the title of the world’s highest paying sport in the near future.

Major League Baseball

1. Basketball

Average Salary: $4.9 million

Basketball emerges as the world’s highest paid sport, with players earning an average of $4.9 million per year. In addition to lucrative salaries, basketball players, particularly in the NBA, benefit from numerous endorsements and sponsorships, surpassing any other sport. Top players like Kobe Bryant, who earned over $30 million in the 2013/14 season, exemplify the immense financial opportunities available in basketball.


Some Highly Paid Sports We’ve Not Listed

It’s important to note that our top five list is based on average salaries and may not include some highly paid sports. Boxing, MMA, golf, and tennis, for example, feature top athletes who earn significant incomes. However, in these sports, the earning potential is concentrated among a select few at the pinnacle of their careers. Regular professionals in these sports often earn modest salaries, resulting in lower average salaries overall.

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In contrast, sports like the NBA and MLB offer higher average salaries due to the smaller pool of players, with all players earning substantial incomes. This disparity accounts for the ranking differences across various sports.


  • Are these average salaries inclusive of sponsorships and endorsements?
    Yes, the average salaries mentioned include sponsorships and endorsements, providing a comprehensive view of the athletes’ total compensation.

  • How do other sports compare in terms of top individual earnings?
    Other sports, such as boxing, can boast top athletes earning significant sums. Floyd Mayweather, for instance, was the highest paid sportsman in the world in 2014, with a net income exceeding $100 million.

  • Will baseball and basketball remain the highest paying sports in the future?
    While it’s difficult to predict with certainty, the increasing revenue and popularity of both Major League Baseball and basketball suggest that these sports will continue to offer lucrative opportunities for athletes.


When it comes to the highest paid sports in the world, basketball takes the crown, with players earning substantial salaries and additional income from endorsements and sponsorships. However, soccer, American football, ice hockey, and baseball also provide rewarding avenues for athletes to excel and earn impressive incomes. As the sports industry continues to grow, it will be fascinating to see how salaries evolve and which sports emerge as the highest paying in the future.

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