Top 5 Highest-Paying Sports in the World

ball under basketball ring

We all know that famous athletes like Floyd Mayweather, Tiger Woods, or Cristiano Ronaldo are absurdly wealthy. After all, earning over 100 million dollars per year is unimaginable for most of us.

Nonetheless, we may wonder: what is the highest-paid sport? Even though Roger Federer became the highest-paid athlete in 2020, we cannot say that tennis is the most profitable sport discipline.

Of course, watching tennis live streaming is a popular option during a pandemic, but do professional tennis players earn more than basketball or football players? 

This article is here to answer these questions! If you wish to find out the best five highest-paying sports in the world, read on:


The world’s highest-paid sport is, without a doubt, basketball. National Basketball Association (NBA) superstars like Stephen Curry or Lebron James have one of the world’s highest salaries among active players.

However, to earn a nice payday, you do not even have to be a starter on an NBA team! With an average salary of $7.4 million per year, even a player outside of the top 100 basketball players list can feel satisfied with their earnings.

We asked Adam C, who works hand in hand with various companies on what he thought about this and he said, ” Basketball is not only the highest-paying sport, but it is also a very interesting game. Many companies that offer team building games include this sport as one of virtual escape games because it’s great and truly brings people together. “

Add to it some cash from sponsors or endorsements, and you can see why NBA players are among the best-paid athletes every year. If you want to earn a lot of money every season, choose this sport as your career path!

people inside the basketball court

American Football

American football is a sport loved by many people, even outside of the USA. Thus, there is no surprise that it finds its way onto our list.

National Football League (NFL) players, on average, earn $860 thousand a year. Additionally, NFL salaries have been steadily growing over recent years, and there are no signs of stopping this trend.

Moreover, top NFL stars like Matt Ryan can hope for even better financial results. With one of the highest-paid players in the world coming from the NFL, it is safe to say that it is one of the best paying sports in general.

football field


Baseball has millions of fans in the United States and all over the world.  According to statistics, it was played by 15 million Americans in 2017 no wonder this sport is so well-paid.

Interestingly, baseball has significantly influenced language in America. Many English expressions are derived from its terminology. The most notable examples include: getting the first base, stepping up to the plate, or being in the right ballpark.

All of it shows how high of a status baseball has in almost every American home. Thus, along with high viewership numbers, MLB players can expect good royalties.

With this discipline’s continued growth, we may one day encounter a reality in which baseball will be the best-paying sport in the world. Nevertheless, even nowadays, it is an enticing option for every aspiring athlete.

man in white and black baseball jersey shirt and red baseball cap

Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey, one of the fastest games of all time, is also on our list of the top five highest-paying sports. Its placement should come as no surprise as the National Hockey League (NHL) is one of the world’s wealthiest sports leagues.

Many famous NHL players held high positions on the Forbes list of highest-paid players. For example, legendary player Wayne Gretzky became the fifth richest person in 1994 with a total income of $13.5 million.

As it turned out, Gretzky’s success laid the foundation for what this sport is today. Thanks to his contribution, current top NFL players can enjoy high income for every season they spend on the ice.

Moreover, hockey is becoming more popular with each passing year. This observation means that very soon, playing in a hockey team might make you a billionaire in the span of a single calendar year.

ice hockey players on ice hockey stadium


Soccer is not only a global discipline but also one of the highest-paid sports in the world. As it requires a lot of endurance and technical skills, it is natural that a soccer player’s average salary is around $2 million for a season.

Besides, endorsement deals that some soccer players can get are mind-boggling. For example, Lionel Messi earned $32 million last year from the endorsements alone. Such high numbers only prove the popularity of this sport. 

Soccer teams, players, or even coaches and managers can enjoy a high-income thanks to this sports accessibility and marketability. While the whole world is playing it, soccer should stay as a top-earning discipline for many years to come.

soccer stadium


Now you know what the highest-paid sports are! All professional players from these five disciplines can hope for a lucrative contract.

Of course, there are other major sports with high salaries that did not make our list. For example, auto racing or tennis have their representatives among the highest-paid athletes; take a look at Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal. 

Sports are all about fierce competition and strong emotions, making them so attractive for millions of people all over the world. That’s why making a career in sports is always a great idea!