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What is the highest-paid sport in the world right now? Top 15 list
There are numerous sports people play for money. Some are better paying than others. Usually, sportsmen get paid depending on the terms and conditions of their contracts, performance, sign-on bonuses, and even player popularity. The highest-paid sport in the world has millions, if not billions, of fans worldwide.
Professional athletes make significant sums from their salaries from playing various sports. They earn salaries, bonuses, and endorsement deals. The highest-paid sport in the world pays top athletes millions of dollars annually. Discover if your favourite sport is among the highest-paying globally.
Highest-paid sport in the world: Top 15 list
Below is a list of the best-paying sports today. Find out if your favourite is the highest-paid sport in the world.
15. Cycling - Average salary $50,000 pa
- Official recognition: 31 May 1868
- Governing body: Union Cycliste Internationale
- Average annual salary: $50,000 pa
- Famous athletes: Tadej Pogačar, Wout Van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Jonas Vingegaard Rasmussen, Aleksandr Vlasov, Jai Hindley, and Primož Roglič
Cycling is also called biking or bicycling. It is the use of a bicycle for sport, recreation, or transportation. Professional and amateur races are held mostly in continental Europe, the United States, and Asia. In 1903, the 21-day-long Tour de France was inaugurated. Cycling has continued every year since then, except during the world wars.
14. Pro-boxing - Average salary $51,370 pa
- Official recognition: 688 BCE (23rd Olympiad)
- Governing body: The International Boxing Association (IBA)
- Average annual salary: $51,370 pa
- Famous athletes: Muhammad Ali, Roberto Durán, Sugar Ray Robinson, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Bernard Hopkins, and Wladimir Klitschko
Boxing involves attacking and defending with the fists. Boxers usually wear padded gloves and generally observe the code set forth in the Marquess of Queensberry rules. A pro-boxer wins a match either by outscoring the opponent or by rendering the opponent incapable of continuing the match.
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13. Athletics - Average salary $65,734 pa
- Official recognition: 1829 BC
- Governing body: World Athletics
- Average annual salary: $65,734 pa
- Famous athletes: Usain Bolt, Faith Kipyegon, Justin Gatlin, Kipchoge Keino, Ezekiel Kemboi, Eliud Kipchoge, Christian Malcolm, and Churandy Martina
Athletics, alias track-and-field events, are a variety of competitions in running, walking, jumping, and throwing events. Track-and-field athletics are the oldest forms of organized sport. Countries send teams of men and women to the quadrennial Olympic Games and to the official World Championships of track and field.
12. Field hockey - Average salary $66,101 pa
- Official recognition: 1861
- Governing body: International Hockey Federation
- Average annual salary: $66,101 pa
- Famous athletes: Sohail Abbas, Dhyan Chand, Ric Charlesworth, Luciana Aymar, Amy Swensen, Katie Bam, and Marcia Pankratz
Field hockey is one of the most popular outdoor games. It is played by two opposing teams of 11 players each. They use sticks curved at the striking end to hit a small, hard ball into their opponent’s goal. Hockey began to be played in English schools in the late 19th century.
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11. Tennis - Average salary $75,000 pa
- Official recognition: Late 1960s
- Governing body: International Tennis Federation
- Average annual salary: $75,000 pa
- Famous athletes: Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and Venus Williams
Tennis is played by millions in clubs and on public courts. In the game, two opposing players (singles) or pairs of players (doubles) use tautly strung rackets to hit a ball of specified size and weight. The ball bounces over a net on a rectangular tennis court.
10. NASCAR Driving - Average salary $112,000 pa
- Official recognition: 1948
- Governing body: The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, LLC
- Average annual salary: $112,000 pa
- Famous athletes: Bobby Allison, Davey Allison, Buck Baker, Bill Elliott, Richie Evans, Red Farmer, Cotton Owens, Marvin Panch, and Benny Parsons
NASCAR is a marathon, and F1 is a sprint. The average NASCAR race can last up to three hours. NASCAR runs races primarily on ovals, including superspeedways, short tracks, and dirt tracks, but also road courses and street circuits. Since its inception, the NASCAR Cup Series has evolved into one of the most popular and best-paying sports in the world.
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9. UFC fighting (wrestling) - Average salary $150,249 pa
- Official recognition: 1993
- Governing body: Ultimate Fighting Championship
- Average annual salary: $150,249 pa
- Famous athletes: Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, Stipe Miocic, Daniel Cormier, Demetrious Johnson, and Khabib Nurmagomedov
UFC fighters compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the largest MMA promotion in the world. UFC fighters wrestle for the title. Regarded as the world’s oldest sport, wrestling involves contestants struggling hand-to-hand, attempting to throw or take down their opponent without striking blows. Some wrestling styles include Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and catch-as-catch-can.
8. Golf - Average salary $1.4 million pa
- Official recognition: 1457
- Governing body: International Golf Federation
- Average annual salary: $1.4 million
- Famous athletes: Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Walter Hagen, Walter Hagen, and Billy Casper
In golf, players use clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a course. Players with the fewest successful strokes are declared winners. Golf was established in the Netherlands in the mid-16th century. Did you know golf balls were originally made of feathers and leather?
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7. Cricket - Average salary $2 million pa
- Official recognition: 1611
- Governing body: International Cricket Council
- Average annual salary: $2 million
- Famous athletes: MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, James Anderson, Rahul Dravid, Kapil Dev, Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag, and AB de Villiers
Cricket is played by two teams of 11 with a bat and ball. One player on each team acts as captain. Cricket matches can range from informal weekend afternoon activities on village greens to top-level international contests spread over five days.
6. American football - Average salary $2.7 million pa
- Official recognition: 1869
- Governing body: International Federation of American Football
- Average annual salary: $2.7 million
- Famous athletes: Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, Patrick Mahomes, Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Tom Brady, and Travis Kelce
Did you know American football has over 410 million fans globally? The game is also known as gridiron sport. It is the most played sport in America and is a crossbreed of soccer and English rugby. Players are permitted to touch, throw, and carry the ball with their hands, unlike soccer.
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5. Ice hockey - Average salary $3.5 million pa
- Official recognition: 1920 (Olympics)
- Governing body: International Ice Hockey Federation
- Average annual salary: $3.5 million
- Famous athletes: Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Jean Béliveaum, Alexander Ovechkin, Steve Yzerman, and Jacques Plante
Ice hockey is a team sport played on ice skates on an ice skating rink. Two teams of six each propel the hockey puck past a goal line and into a net guarded by a goaltender. Ice hockey made its Olympic debut in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium.
4. Soccer - Average salary $3.9 million pa
- Official recognition: 19th century
- Governing body: The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA)
- Average annual salary: $3.9 million
- Famous athletes: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Ronaldinho Gaúcho, Karim Benzema, David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimović, and Sergio Ramos
Soccer is arguably the most-watched sport in the contemporary world. It is a game involving two teams of 11 who try to move a ball into the opponent’s goal without using hands or arms. Soccer is the world’s most popular ball game based on the number of participants and spectators, with an estimated 3.5 billion fans worldwide.
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3. Formula 1/Grand Prix racing - Average salary $4 million pa
- Official recognition: 1950
- Governing body: The World Motor Sport Council (FIA)
- Average annual salary: $4 million
- Famous athletes: Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, Alain Prost, and Ayrton Senna
Formula 1 is also known as Grand Prix racing. This interesting game involves automobile racing on closed highways or other courses. The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) sets the specifications for all racing-car classes.
2. Baseball - Average salary $4.9 million pa
- Official recognition: 1857
- Governing body: International Baseball Federation
- Average annual salary: $4.9 million
- Famous athletes: Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, and Alex Rodriguez
Did you know baseball has about 500 million fans worldwide? Baseball is among the top 5 highest-paid sports in the world today. It is played with a bat, ball, and gloves. Two teams of nine players each compete on a field with four white bases laid out in a diamond. Baseball game's rules closely resemble rules for rounders.
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1. Basketball - Average salary $8.5 million pa
- Official recognition: 1891
- Governing body: The International Basketball Federation (FIBA)
- Average annual salary: $8.5 million
- Famous athletes: LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Shaquille O'Neal
Basketball is played between two teams of five players each. Each basketball team tries to score by tossing the ball through the opponent’s elevated horizontal hoop and net, called a basket. It is the only major game of American origin.
Recap of the highest-paid sports in the
Average salary per annum
Formula 1/Grand Prix racing
UFC Fighting (wrestling)
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Who is the highest-paid female professional sports?
Naomi Osaka, a tennis player, is in first place, earning an average of $51.1 million annually. She is followed by Serena Williams with an average of $41.3 million.
What is the highest-paid sport in the world?
Basketball is the most lucrative sport globally, which is not surprising. The finest basketball players in the NBA make millions of dollars in payments each year and receive more endorsements and sponsorship than any other athlete in any other sport.
What sport is the hardest?
The sport that requires the most of its participants is boxing. It is more complicated than other sports, including basketball, baseball, hockey, and cycling.
What is the most watched sport?
Boxing is arguably the most-viewed sport in the world. Boxing involves attacking and defending with fists. It has over 4.74 billion fans globally.
Who is the most popular sportsperson in the world?
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The most famous sportspersons in the world include Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Usain Bolt.
Who is the highest-paid football player?
Who is the richest sports player?
American businessman and former basketball player Michael Jordan is the richest sports player in the world. Michael Jordan's net worth is $3 billion.
What is the lowest-paying sport?
The lowest-paying sports include frisbee and bowling. The average annual salaries for these sports are minimal.
The highest-paid sport earns elite players millions of dollars annually. Basketball, soccer, baseball, ice hockey, golf, and cricket are among the best-paying games in the present-day world.
Sportsbrief.com recently published a list of billionaire athletes in the world. In addition to salaries, billionaire athletes have lucrative endorsement deals with top brands.
Few athletes have attained billionaire status because of the differences in salaries, their demand, and the years of expertise. Those who have also run businesses.