What is the highest paid sport in America? Sports are one of the few activities that unify the world together. Some people showcase their interest and love for sports by participating, while others appreciate it through screens. The sports industry is ever-growing and is the birthplace of the world’s many rich athletes. Moreover, it has over 8000 sports, but only a few have achieved world-class popularity and value.
Among these highly valuable sports, there are multiple candidates worthy of the title of the highest-paid sport.
In this article, we cover the list of the TOP 10 highest-paid professional sports in the world according to thorough research and reports. The athletes linked with these sports earn through games and brand endorsements, prizes, and sponsorship deals.
Let’s dive in.
Number one on the list, we have the most-watched sport in the US and Canada, basketball. The invention of basketball dates back to 1891 when James Naismith first introduced it at the International Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA).
NBA is the most popular and highest-paying basketball league in the world, with an average salary of $4.9 million per year.
Every basketball player dream of entering the NBA. LeBron James, the world’s 2nd highest-paid athlete, belongs to the NBA and has an estimated net worth of $850 million.
Boxing is one of the oldest sports dating back to 688 BC. It ranks 2nd on the list of the highest-paid sports. The popularity of boxing is widespread in every part of the world, including the US, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Boxing demands the athletes to be super strong and fit as it is a high-rewarding sport.
Boxing is one of the hardest sports in the world. Usually, boxers earn vast amounts of money through endorsement deals, pay-per-view commissions, and betting.
The now-retired Floyd Mayweather JR. earns the title of the highest-paid athlete in the world because of his total earnings of $915 million.
First played in 1869, American Football comprises eleven players on the field.
This sport is plausibly the most-watched sport in the US and has millions of fans across the globe. In addition to their salaries from signed contracts with teams, American football players also earn additional income through endorsement deals.
Like basketball, football is a lucrative billion-dollar sport. The average salary of the NFL, the professional football league in America, is around $7 million. Roger Staubach is the wealthiest football player of all time.
Furthermore, the highest-earning American football player is Tom Brady, earning an average of $303 million.
Golf doesn’t require heavy endurance and brutal strength compared to other lucrative sports. It gained rapid popularity in the US and Europe in the 17th century. This club-and-ball sport is easy to learn but extremely tough to master.
Furthermore, a golfer’s profession can last till his 40s. In golf, the primary source of income is events and tours organized worldwide.
The title of highest-paid golfer of 2022 belongs to 52-year-old Phil Mickelson, thanks to his LIV deal.
At the same time, Tiger Woods remains the richest golfer of all time, with an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion. Also, Woods is listed as one of the world’s wealthiest athletes.
Football, also known as soccer in some countries, originated in Great Britain in the 19th century. It involves twenty players on the field and is home to the highest-paying contracts in the sports industry.
Football players earn through the clubs they play for, performance bonuses, endorsement deals, merchandise sales, and media products.
The current top three highest-paid football players are Kylian Mbappé ($128 million), Lionel Messi ($110 million), and Christian Ronaldo ($100 million). They also hold the title of highest-paid athletes in soccer history.
6. Ice Hockey
Canada’s most popular game, ice hockey, is 6th on this list of highest-paying professional sports. It is also popular in the US, Russia, and Australia regions.
The international ice hockey federation (IIHF) is now the governing body of this winter team sport.
The average ice hockey player earns about $65,000 annually, while the highest-paid amount is $99 million. Wayne Gretzky is the richest ice-hockey player, with an estimated net worth of $200 million.
He has played over 20 seasons for NHL and earned the title of “the greatest hockey player ever.”
Tennis, the most famous recreational sport, is played by millions worldwide. Its top players have earned a spot among the world’s highest-earning athletes.
ITF governs tennis. US Open, Grand Slams, and French Open are the most famous tennis tournaments that every tennis player dreams of.
The former tennis player Roger Federer has an estimated net value of $450 million and earns $106 million annually. Also, the world’s wealthiest female athlete is a professional tennis player.
8. Auto racing
Car racing is a fun yet risky sport. It is popular in the US and Europe. Its origin dates back to 1867, when the first race took place. Auto racing is expensive because it needs sufficient money to maintain the car.
Auto racing ranks 8th on the list of the highest-paid professional sports. Lewis Hamilton is the highest-paid race car driver, with an estimated net value of $280 million.
He is also one of the greatest racers in Formula 1 history.
Baseball is the highest-paying sport played for the first time in the 18th century.
In addition to the US, Japan and South Korea excel in this sport. MLB (Major League Baseball) is the most famous baseball league.
The highest-paid baseball player is Max Scherzer from MLB, with an average salary of $43.3 million annually.
Last but not least on this list of the highest-paid sports is cycling. Various cycling tournaments are held in different parts of the world that pay large sums of money. Also, cyclists earn through brand deals and services of companies.
The Union of Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is the governing body of cycling. Also, the UCI World Tour is the goal of all cyclists because the average pay is $2.35M.
Tadej Pogačar is the highest-earning cyclist this year, with an estimated earnings of $6 million.
Moreover, the former cyclist Lance Armstrong is on the list of the world’s wealthiest athletes in 2022.