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What Sports Make the Most Money?

What could be better than enjoying a Friday evening with your favorite people watching the most awaited duel of the year? Ronaldo vs Messi? Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal? India vs Pakistan? 

There are numerous rivals and these rivalries make sports the most thrilling element of the game. But if we sit and think about it, what sports do you think make the most money?


How do Sports People Earn Money?

Let’s look at the subject a little more closely to understand the relationship between money, sports, and the audience. But the first question that arises is “How do these sportsmen make so much money?”

There are various means to earn money in this 21st century. With various online and offline means, money can easily be earned. Here are some of the top ways that contribute to the earnings of a sportsperson. 

  1. Winning prize money: When a team wins, it is usually awarded some prize money which may or may not be shared by all the team members. Sometimes, the prize money is awarded only to a specific player for their extraordinary contribution to the team. This money is directly paid to the athlete’s account.
  2. Sponsorships: In order to promote a brand or a product, the company picks up the players or the team. The player/team then endorses the products and is heavily paid for this which adds to their account.
  3. Salary: Each player receives a salary on a yearly or monthly basis as per the contract requirements. These salaries are the basic source of their income.
  4. Online streaming: A lot of sportspeople indulge in online streaming so that they can exchange greetings from the fans without any intermediary. It is a fun way to interact with the fans and also another source of income. 

What is True Sportsmanship?

The adrenaline rush is the most common response during a thrilling match. Either you win or lose. Keeping your cool is the most important feature that a sportsperson exhibits.

However, there are a few features that every sportsmanship should exhibit. 

  1. Positive attitude towards the game.
  2. Mutual respect among team members.
  3. Fair play.
  4. Avoid using unfair means.
  5. Saying “NO” to temporary or permanent use of steroids.
  6. Hard work and dedication.
  7. Avoiding unethical behavior.

The Top Earning Sports

Some of the sports proved to be the cash cows. Broadcasting, sponsorship, and other ways have been proven to generate huge revenue. Here are some of the top-earning sports.

1. Basketball:

Basketball is the highest-paid sport for the time being. With five players on each side, the game requires skill, technique, and nonetheless exceptional strength. With a humongous fanbase, the NBA is the most celebrated sports league. 


The highest-paid athlete in this sport is LeBron James. He has made a fortune of $119.5 million which includes the income from sponsorship as well as various means.


The list of the highest-paid players according to a report by Forbes quite justifies the position of this game on the list.

Name of the player The team the player plays for Total earning
LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers $119.5 M
Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors $100.4 M
Kevin Durant Phoenix Suns $89.1 M
Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks $87.6 M
Russell Westbrook Los Angeles Clippers $82.1 M

2. Boxing:

Who knew aiming punches at each other could be 2nd on the list of the top-paying athletes? Down the memory lane, this used to be every sibling’s favorite sport 😉. 


Having said that, boxing is a blend of constructive aggression, techniques, and stamina. Canelo Alvarez has made an impressive fortune of $110 million. Here is a list of some of the top-earning players and their average estimates.

Name of the player Total earning
Floyd Mayweather $450 M
Canelo Alvarez $110 M
Anthony Joshua $80 M
Tyson Fury $65 M
Deontay Wilder $30 M


boxing-sports3. Tennis:

You must be aware of the sensational games at Wimbledon. They are high-profile games which are also known as “grand slam” events. Winning these tournaments can bring a plethora of fortune to the player.


A player needs to serve the ball to start the game. Many players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and Sania Mirza have made a mark on the field.  

According to Forbes magazine, here’s a list of the top-earning players.

Name of the player The country the player plays for Total earning
Roger Federer Switzerland $90 M
Naomi Osaka Japan $56.2 M
Serena Williams US $35.1 M
Rafael Nadal Spain $31.4 M
Novak Djokovic Serbia $27.1 M



4. Football (Soccer):

The humongous fan base football has made over the years is amazing. With 90 mins in hand, two teams with 11 players on each side, the aim to score more goals than the opponent teams, the game is nothing but a nerve-wracking adrenalin rush for the spectators.


The stamina needed for the game is enormous for any common man. Daily practices are strictly required to keep up with the fatigue one might end up having. With great players like Ronaldo, Messi, Mbappe, and other legends, football has helped make a mark in this field.

 Forbes magazine published a report on the top players of the season.

Name of the player The team the player plays for Total earning
Cristiano Ronaldo Al-Nassar FC $136 M
Lionel Messi Inter Miami FC $130 M
Kylian Mbappe France National FC $120 M
Neymar Paris Saint-Germain FC $85 M
Mohamed Salah Liverpool FC $53 M



5. Golf: 

With vast green meadows, golf is a game of serene beauty and skills. Aiming for the hole by the club, the game demands great precision, patience, and practice. 


Collectively known as “Major championships”, the various prestigious leagues it includes are The Masters, The U.S. Open, the British Open, etc. The players have made a good fortune out of this sport.

The list mentions some of the top-earning players of golf. 

Name of the player Total earning
Dustin Johnson $107 M
Phil Mickelson $106 M
Rory Mcllory $80.8 M
Tiger Woods $75.1 M
Cameron Smith $73 M



6. Baseball:

To a cricket fan, baseball might seem similar to the game of cricket. Baseball is the most played sport in the US. The game requires great aiming skills. With players bagging millions of dollars through this game, baseball has secured the 6th position on the list. 


With leagues like Major League Baseball, this game surely offers a handsome salary and fame to the players. 

The baseball players who are known for their good fortune and fame according to Forbes magazine are as follows.

Name of the player The team the player plays for Total earning
Shohei Ohtani Los Angeles Angels $70 M
Max Scherzer New York Mets $60.3 M
Justin Verlander New York Mets $44.3 M
Aaron Judge New York Yankees $44 M
Mike Trout Los Angeles Angels $35.5 M



7. Auto Racing:

The need for speed is real for these sportsmen. Love Speed? Have a thing for sports cars? Well, Auto racing might be your niche! The game gets real when the wheels are on fire. With a speed of 350 km/h, Auto racing is not for those with a weak heart.


Auto racing is a thrilling sport both for the spectators as well as the sportsperson. Not only does it push one’s nerves but also pays handsomely. 

Let’s take a look at the annual income of these speed racers.

Name of the player Total earning
Lewis Hamilton $36 M
Fernando Alonso $34 M
Sebastian Vettel $32 M
Kimi Raikkonen $27 M
Dale Earnhardt Jr. $23.5 M



8. Ice Hockey:

Securing 8th position on this list, ice hockey is another sport that pays you handsomely. Professional players can earn in millions. One of the most popular leagues in North America is the National Hockey League (NHL). 


Ice hockey is a sport that requires a combination of teamwork, skill, strength, and speed. 

Can you make a guess at how much these ice hockey players earn?

Name of the player The team the player plays for Total earning
Nathan MacKinnon Avalanche $12.6 M
Connor MacDavid Oilers $12.5 M
Artemi Panarin Rangers $11.642 M
Auston Matthews Maple Leafs $11.6 M
Erik Karlsson Sharks $11.5 M




9. Cycling:

Who knew cycling could be on the list of top-earning sports? The cycling sport is something more vigorous than our daily cycling adventures. So, nope it isn’t at all similar to the daily cycling regimes.


Cycling as a sport requires a great deal of physical fitness, endurance, strength, and technical skills. 

Name of the player Total earning
Tadej Pogacar $6 M
Peter Sagan $5.5 M
Christopher Froomer $5 M
Thomas Pidcock $4 M
Geraint Thomas $3.5 M



Top-earning International Leagues

Some sports leagues pay huge and handsomely to the participating teams and team members. Here’s a briefing through a table.

League Total Salaries Average salary per player
NBA $4,683,194,570 $10,407,099
NFL $6,745,198,118 $4,539.164
English Premier League $4,156,855,000 $4,497,218
MLB $3,397,175,082 $4,355,353
NHL $2,554,811,395 $3,538,520
La Liga $2,060,307,000 $2,228,105
Bundesliga $1,788,802,000 $1,933,292
Serie A $1,771,313,000 $1.914,391
Ligue 1 $1,286,910,000 $1,390,860


Highest Paying Sports Team

Some teams generously pay their members for the unremarkable contribution they make. They not only reward them for their talent and hard work but also pay them handsomely for their efforts. Here are some of the top-paying sports teams.

Rank Team League Average Annual Salary
1 Real Madrid La Liga $13,677,294
2 Los Angeles Clippers NBA $13,468,019
3 Golden State Warriors NBA $13,193,720
4 Brooklyn Nets NBA $12,937,946
5 Milwaukee Bucks NBA $12,487,995
6 Boston Celtics NBA $12,443,006
7 Los Angeles Lakers NBA $11,958,012



From Basketball to Cycling, we saw all the sports that are popular among the spectators, and the players are paid well. Some players went from rags to riches after achieving that fame and popularity. However, sports are fun and should be treated like one.

Having a monetary approach to sports could become really a buzz kill for the sports. 


  • Who is the top-paid player?

Cristiano Ronaldo is the top-paid player.

  • What is the most famous sport?

Sports preference changes region-wise. However, Football is the most famous sport.

  • What sports are most watched?

Soccer is the most watched sport.

  • Do the players get income only through salary?

The players indulge in various activities like sponsorship, campaigns, etc and these add up to their salary.

  • What is the most difficult sport?

Boxing, even though it pays well, is the most difficult sport.

  • What is the most dangerous sport?

Auto racing can be considered as the most dangerous sport.

  • What is the most famous sport in India?

Cricket is the most famous sport in India.

Ishwar Deep
Ishwar Deephttp://ishwardeep.com
Head of Content @ Whitedust (or, in plain English), I'm the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is EPIC.

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