What is the highest paid sport in the world? Top 10 list

What is the highest paid sport in the world? Top 10 list

For the longest time, sporting activities have been one of the most popular sources of entertainment from around the world. Dating from 80AD, one ancient sport was gladiator fighting, used as a unifying factor across Italy. Today, there have evolved different sports, which many people have made a career out of. So, what is the highest-paid sport in the world?

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What is the highest paid sport in the world?
Highest paid athletes in 2021, NBA star Lebron James, professional boxer Floyd Mayweather and footballer Lionell Messi. Photo: Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Athletes today are some of the wealthiest people worldwide. Even after retiring from professional sports, athletes make millions, if not billions, of dollars through endorsement deals with corporations. However, few athletes have a consistent source of revenue since they frequently broadcast at sporting events.

Top paid sports

So, what sport pays the most? First, of course, many nations spend millions to host significant sporting events, such as the recent Olympics in Tokyo, where athletes from all over the world compete to show off their skills.

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1. Basketball

What is the highest paid sport in the world?
LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the Houston Rockets on November 2, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Adam Pantozzi
Source: Getty Images

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What is the highest-paid sport in the world? The answer to that is basketball, with the NBA being the highest paying basketball league globally.

As a result, it is the dream for every basketball player to join the NBA. In total, the NBA's ten top-earning players are set to make $714 million, up 28% from 2020-21 and 19% from the previous high of $600 million from 2019-20. The Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry takes the runner-up spot with $92.8 million.

2. Boxing

What is the highest paid sport in the world? Top 10 list
Floyd Mayweather enters the ring for his contracted exhibition boxing match against Logan Paul at Hard Rock Stadium on June 06, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo: Cliff Hawkins
Source: Getty Images

What sport pays the most? Boxing is the second on the list. According to Combat Sports Events, the average professional boxer can earn between $22000 and $37000 per year. However, such revenues would be decreased because they do not include travel, health, training, or management expenditures, which the boxer would have to cover with those earnings.

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3. Football/ soccer

What is the highest paid sport in the world?
Lionel Messi walks in the field during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Paris Saint Germain and Lille OSC at Parc des Princes on October 29, 2021 in Paris, France. Photo: Marcio Machado
Source: Getty Images

Football is one of the most popular yet highest paying sports in the world. In 2021, Barcelona was named the world's richest football club according to the Deloitte rankings. The team made a revenue of $861 million this year.

According to Forbes, among the top paid athletes in 2021 three of them were soccer players including, Leonel Messi ($130 million), Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar made it to the top ten.

4. American football

What is the highest paid sport in the world?
Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys warms up before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at AT&T Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. Photo: Richard Rodriguez
Source: Getty Images

Football is a popular and the highest paying sport in America. In 2021, the NFL made about $9.8 billion in national revenue, with 32 teams receiving a record $309 million each, according to shareholder filings from the Green Bay Packers. A large part of the NFL's revenue is media rights along with sponsorships, which attracted $1.62 billion last season.

5. Golf

What is the highest paid sport in the world?
Jordan Spieth of the United States plays a practice round prior to THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT at The Summit Club on October 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Alex Goodlett
Source: Getty Images

What sport makes the most money? Well, golf is the fifth in the highest-paid sports in the world in 2021. According to Callaway Golf Company, golf generated anet GAAP revenue of $856 million in the third quarter of 2021.

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6. Tennis

What is the highest paid sport in the world?
Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates match point during the second round match between Karolina Muchova of Czech and Naomi Osaka on May 02, 2021 in Madrid, Spain. Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno
Source: Getty Images

What is the highest paid professional sport? Tennis's top players make their money mainly from endorsements. According to Forbes, Naomi Osaka, the No. 2 ranked woman, earned $37.4 million in 2020, almost all of it from sponsors, making her the world's highest-paid female athlete. The top earner in men's tennis, Federer, made $106 million, with $100 million from endorsements.

7. Ice hokey

What is the highest paid sport in the world?
Erik Karlsson #65 of the San Jose Sharks looks against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at the Scotiabank Arena on October 22, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Kevin Sousa
Source: Getty Images

Ice hockey is one of the most-watched sports in the USA. The National Hockey League generated a revenue of $4.37 billion in the 2019/2020 season. These are the salaries for the 2021/2022 season:

The team salary cap is $81.5 million. No player can earn more than $16.3 million.

  1. Erik Karlsson (San Jose Sharks) $14.5 million
  2. Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers) $13 million
  3. Artemi Panarin (New York Rangers) $13 million
  4. Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens) $13 million
  5. Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars) $13 million

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8. Auto Racing

What is the highest paid sport in the world?
Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 14, 2021 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Mark Thompson
Source: Getty Images

Formula 1, the prestigious motor racing series owned by US media giant Liberty, secured revenue during the third quarter of 2021 of $668 million, up 12 per cent year-on-year as the return of fans after a coronavirus-hit 2020 boosted the series' income.

According to Auto Week, Lewis Hamilton, who drives a Mercedes, earned $62 million in 2021. Max Verstappen followed him at $42 million and Fernando Alonso at $25 million.

9. Baseball

What is the highest paid sport in the world?
Francisco Lindor #12 of the New York Mets plays shortstop against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 05, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo: G Fiume
Source: Getty Images

Baseball is also among the top-paying sports in the world. In 2020, the combined revenue of all Major League Baseball teams was 3.66 billion US dollars. In addition, the average income per MLB team stood at 122.1 million US dollars.

10. Wrestling

What is the highest paid sport in the world?
Brock Lesnar stands on the scale during the UFC 200 weigh-ins at T-Mobile Arena on July 8, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Cooper Neill
Source: Getty Images

Professional wrestling is a form of performing art involving scripted wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned. The industry has become one of the most successful.

In 2020, World Wrestling Entertainment's global revenue amounted to 974.2 million US dollars, up from just over 960 million in the previous year. The entertainment company generated the vast majority of its revenue from its media segment.

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So, what is the highest paid sport in the world? The list above contains all the details. Sporting activities have encouraged those with physical talents to pursue and make a career out of them.

READ ALSO: Top 10 richest football clubs in South Africa 2021 (net worth)

South Africa is one of the African countries that puts a significant amount of money, effort and time into football. The Premier Soccer League, which oversees the National First Division and the South African Premier Division, has a streamlined structure.

The two leagues have challenged the local teams to achieve the most outstanding results possible. Briefly.co.za recently enlisted the top 10 richest football clubs in the Mzansi nation in 2021.

Source: Briefly News

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