Boxing, baseball, and basketball contracts were the most popular. Because more than one player is associated with the same contract value in some circumstances, readers may expect to see some values repeated. Continue reading to learn which players signed the contracts that made them the highest-paid athletes in history.
The top three contracts of all time are held by boxing legends Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, and George Foreman. Each man's contract was valued at $1 million or more. Baseball's top three contracts also belong to retired greats: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Carl Yastrzemski. Each man received over $1 million for his efforts while playing professional baseball. Finally, the top three contracts in basketball involve players who spent their entire careers with the Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phil Jackson. Each man earned over $10 million during their career games.
In addition to these top stars, there are several other players who appeared in multiple Top 10 lists. These include Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, James Worthy, Shaquille O'Neal, and Hakeem Olajuwon.
Of all the sports, football has the most unique way of determining who will receive the most lucrative contracts. The highest-paid player on each team's roster gets 70 percent of the total contract value.
The following are the top eight highest-paying sports in the world right now:
Top 8 Sports Jobs with the Highest Pay
Unproven or mediocre athletes typically acquire contracts with lower salaries and perks than proven athletes. Most professional leagues with a players' union negotiate a typical player's contract with management or promoters. The length of these contracts varies but is usually for one season. A contract can also be held over two seasons if the player performs well enough to warrant such an extension.
Professional athletes can also receive contract extensions during the negotiation process. These extensions are often based on performance-related bonuses that increase the athlete's salary and other benefits. For example, an athlete may receive an extension if he has a good season and his team wants to keep him. Or, an athlete may receive an extension after making the roster of a particular team. If the athlete does not make the roster, he loses his extension and must re-sign with the team that did not hire him.
Finally, professionals sports teams can trade contracts. This would be done if the team that owns the contract wishes to move forward with another player while still being able to pay the athlete what he is due. For example, if a team signs Joe Smith and he fails to live up to expectations, the team could trade his contract to another organization in order to get something in return. Such as receiving a higher pick in the draft or an opportunity to sign someone else.
The most important sports contracts
|Rank||Name||Length of contract|
|1||Lionel Messi‡||4 years (2017–2021)|
|2||Patrick Mahomes‡||12 years (2020–2031)|
|3||Mike Trout||12 years (2019–2030)|
|4||Canelo Álvarez||5 years (2018–2023)|
As a result, sportsmen in popular sports earn far more than important individuals such as teachers, police officers, and firemen. These companies pay because they know millions of people will watch the games. The TV networks then sell advertisements for automobiles, pizza, and a variety of other products to display during the games. In addition, the players can be very rich due to endorsement deals with shoe manufacturers, apparel companies, or any other type of sponsor.
For example, NBA basketball player LeBron James was reported to be paid $90 million over five years by his current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. If he stayed put, that would have been about 30% of the city's annual income! He is also one of the most sought-after baseball players, having played both positions, and commands eight-figure sums per year. In addition, many football players become millionaires after just one season since they are usually not required to commit to any one team but instead can look for another job if they feel like it cannot get any better money-wise. Many tennis players make a good living too since the best tournaments can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money.
At the other end of the spectrum are athletes who suffer career-ending injuries. They may never recover enough to find work elsewhere and so spend their entire lives unable to provide for themselves or their families. This can happen at any level of sport from junior tennis to major league baseball.
Basketball Basketball is the world's highest-paid sport, with the highest-paid athletes, a massive income, and plenty of sponsorship opportunities, with an average compensation of $7,422,823 in 2018-19. It's also a very popular sport with many fans so it can be hard to find someone who doesn't know who Kobe Bryant or LeBron James are.
Football (soccer) Football is second, with an average salary of $2,400,000. The NFL (American football) is by far the most popular game in the US, with millions of fans. There are other leagues in other countries, but they're not as famous as the NFL.
Hockey Hockey is third, with an average salary of $1,800,000. The NHL (National Hockey League) is the most popular ice hockey league in the US and Canada. Other big leagues in other countries have smaller fan bases.
Baseball Baseball is fourth, with an average salary of $1,200,000. The MLB (Major League Baseball) is more popular than the NHL, but less popular than Football (soccer). There are other small leagues in other countries with even smaller fan bases.
Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels signed the richest deal in professional sports history, at $426.5 million, in March 2019. Despite a pandemic that has struck havoc throughout the world, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has surpassed Trout in just sixteen months. The record contract was agreed by both Trout and the Angels.
The largest single payment made to a player is $25 million per year, which is what Bryce Harper will receive from the Philadelphia Phillies over the course of five years starting in 2021. He is one of many high-profile players expected to benefit from the new collective bargaining agreement, which includes an increase in the minimum salary from $400,000 to $750,000.
Trout's deal included $144 million over six seasons, with additional payments of up to $84 million more based on games played. This makes his annual salary $275 million, which is larger than the entire population of Wyoming. The only other baseball players who make more than $25 million per year are Harper, Manny Machado, and Clayton Kershaw.
In April 2020, it was reported that Mahomes has reached an agreement with the Kansas City Chiefs on a contract extension worth $140 million over 5 years. If the report is confirmed, this would make him the second highest paid player in the NFL behind New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.