Highest Paid Salaries in Sport

For many, sports careers are the stuff of dreams, with countless kids and adults alike aspiring to a career as a professional athlete. Though the physical demands of professional athleticism are intense, so too are the rewards, with players in many disciplines averaging extremely high salaries. Some may argue that many sporting professionals are incredible over-paid and that the money they earn is completely undeserved.

highest paid salaries

At PledgeSports, we want to compare the some of the best sporting leagues in the world in terms of their average salary. These include the NBA, MLB, NFL and finally the Premier League. We also take a look at some of the highest paid athletes amongst each discipline that we feel are worth a mention. Without further ado, let us have an in-depth look at the highest paid salaries per year in sport today.

Comparison of the highest paid Salaries in Sport –

highest paid salaries

NFL – $2.5 Million

highest paid salaries

The 10 highest paid athletes in 2017

The NFL salary cap is up 53% over the past decade to $167 million thanks to rising revenues, largely from TV deals and the forever growing fanbase. Everyone in the NFL is making more money, but no position is like the quarterback.

According to Statista, the average salary from all the NFL teams for the 2017/18 season was estimated to be $2.5 million. This has risen from $2.1 million from the previous years.

5 highest paid players in the NFL to date – 

5) Kirk Cousins, Quarterback €” Washington Redskins

He earned $23,943,600 in 2017 €” a contract that was 100% guaranteed due to a franchise tag, which binds upcoming free agents to the team for another year, according to Over the Cap.

4) Drew Brees, Quarterback €” New Orleans Saints

Drew signed a one-year contract extension with the Saints in late 2016, which netted him a 100%-guaranteed salary of $24.25 million. He is also set to become a free agent in 2018, but the Saints might be keen to hold onto their Super Bowl winner for at least another year.

3) Andrew Luck, Quarterback €” Indianapolis Colts

Luck’s deal is worth $122,970,000, with at least $47 million of that guaranteed upfront.

2) Derek Carr, Quarterback €” Oakland Raiders

Oaklands 26-year-old franchise QB signed a whopping $125,025,000 contract extension over five years, of which hell see at least $40 million.

1) Matthew Stafford, Quarterback €” Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford made history with a five-year, $135 million deal that earned him the top spot on the list of highest-paid NFL players. He gets paid $27 million annually €” the NFLs highest-ever salary.

The 10 highest paid NFL players in it’s history

Premier League – $3.6 Million

With the forever growing popularity in football across the world, it is the Premier League that sits the prettiest of them all.

The $3.6m average for a Premier League player is more than double the equivalent figure in the German Bundesliga ($1.75m) and France’s Ligue 1 ($1.1m). Players in Spain’s La Liga earn an average of $2.4m annually, while the figure for Italy’s Serie A is $1.9m.

highest paid salaries

Both Manchester clubs in England top the bill of the highest paid salaries. Manchester United’s weekly wage bill of £5.241m is followed by Manchester City’s £5.235m.

With Mesut Ozil closing out his deal in January 2018, he now will remain at Arsenal until the end of the 2021 season, earning a massive £350,000 per week. The staggering fact is now only second in the highest premier league earners with Alexis Sanchez move to Manchester United has guaranteed him £500,000 a week before tax and an estimated £26m annually.

The 10 highest paid footballers globally

MLB – $4.4 Million

highest paid salaries

It may a surprise to a few sporting fans, that Major League Baseball is an incredibly well paying career. The money in MLB nowadays with sponsorships, contracts and TV rights is huge. The average salary now stands at $4.4 million. With some of the best players in the league earning $20 million plus a year.

Below the 10 Highest Paid MLB players – 

Mike Trout, the two-time Most Valuable Player for the Los Angeles Angels, will almost certainly take over as baseball’s top earner, as his salary jumps to $34.083 million in 2018.

highest paid salaries

Some of the professional baseball players in the United States play for one of over 240 minor league teams. They receive much lower compensation, between $1,000 – $3,000 per month. But if your playing baseball in college and you’re pretty good, we suggest stick with it. The top 100 players drafted from college or high school receive bonuses ranging from $500,000 to $2 million.

NBA – $6.2 Million

Most followed athletes on Twitter

The NBA is the absolute pinnacle of basketball. If you are lucky enough to play in the NBA, you are guranteed a huge wage packet to go with it. Over the last decade, millions of dollars is being invested into the NBA. We have seen some amazing figures mentioned when it boils down to contracts and sponsorship deals with companies. As for salaries in sport, the NBA paves the way for you to become one of the highest paid athletes in the world.

The 10 richest sports team owners

Steph Curry recently overtook Lebron James as the highest paid NBA player ever, a contract that sees him guaranteed $200 million over 5 years.

10 Highest Paid NBA Players below – 

highest paid salaries

The biggest athlete sponsorship deals in sport

With more and more money being surrounded in the NBA, more and more teams are willing to spend more money to keep their big time players at the team. The average team pays each player on average $6.2 million per year. That’s almost double any other salary sport.

5 Highest Average Salaries in the NBA by Team – 

highest paid salaries


In conclusion, we have established that the NBA has by far the highest paid salaries in sport right now. The real question is – “Do these players deserve the money they get?” Let us know in the comments if you think your sporting icons are getting paid too much money.

Sources: BBCESPN 

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