Here are the Highest-Paid Athletes in Your Favorite Sports

by howmuch

We’ve all seen superstar athletes perform amazing feats in crowded stadiums, but even more impressive are these superstars’ pay. Not only do sports attract millions of viewers, but sports also attract the big bucks. We’ve created a graph of the highest paid athletes in different sports categories.

In the above diagram, the highest paid athletes are placed on a graph. The x-axis represents an athlete’s pay from endorsements and the y-axis represents an athlete’s pay from salary and winnings. Both axes are measured in millions of dollars. Each athlete on the graph is represented by his picture, with a colored circle in the background representing the athlete’s sport.
The very bottom of the graph lists athletes from auto racing, football, baseball, athletes and mixed martial arts. These athletes are at the bottom because they receive little to no pay from endorsements (y-axis). However, these players still make it onto the list of the highest paid athletes because of their relatively high salary and winnings. An opposite trend can also be seen in tennis and golf. Athletes from these sports tend to group up on the left side of the graph because they receive little pay from salary and winnings, but large endorsement deals. This is especially visible for Roger Federer at $64m, most of which is from endorsements.
The sport with the highest number of top paid athletes is football, with five athletes listed in total. Mixed martial arts and track only have one top paid athlete each. The highest paid basketball athletes are spread across the graph more than the other sports, including the second highest paid athlete LeBron James at $86 million. Although football has the most athletes in total, soccer has two of the highest paid athletes; Lionel Messi in third place with $80 million, and the highest paid athlete in the world: Cristiano Ronaldo at $93 million.

The highest paid athletes in the world come from various sports. Some sports, like football and baseball, tend to pay more salary and winnings rather than endorsements. Football athletes frequent the top list the most, but soccer tends to yield the highest paid athletes of all! How does your favorite superstar stack up?

Sources: Table 1.1