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highest paid sports in the world

Playing professional sports at the highest level takes an immense amount of dedication and skill. It’s therefore no surprise that the top athletes in the biggest sports leagues around the world earn extremely high salaries. In this article, we will explore the highest paying sports and take a look at the estimated wages of some of the leading players.

American Football (NFL)
The NFL is the most lucrative sports league in the world. According to Forbes, the average NFL player salary in 2021 was $2.78 million. However, the top stars earn significantly more. Some of the highest NFL contracts include:

1. Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs): $450 million contract, $103 million signing bonus.
2. Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills): $258 million extension, $150 million guaranteed.
3. Kyler Murray (Arizona Cardinals): $230.5 million extension, $160 million guaranteed.
4. Derek Carr (Las Vegas Raiders): $125 million extension.
5. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers): $150 million extension, $101 million signing bonus.

Basketball (NBA)
With high-profile franchises and lucrative television deals, the NBA ranks second in average player wages. Top NBA salary earners include:

1. Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors): $215 million supermax extension, $43 million per year.
2. Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers): $196 million supermax extension, $42.5 million per year.
3. Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets): $198 million extension across 4 years.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks): $228 million supermax extension.
5. Russell Westbrook (LA Lakers): $206 million extension.

Tennis has the highest purses for individual competitions. Key figures in the tennis payscape:

1. Roger Federer: Earned over $90 million prize money so far, endorsement estimated at $80 million per year.
2. Novak Djokovic: Career prize money of $150 million plus endorsements.
3. Rafael Nadal: Amassed $125 million in career earnings from competitions.
4. Naomi Osaka (Japan): Career earnings of $55.2 million putting her among highest paid female athletes.
This concludes the first part of the article. The following sections will cover additional top paying sports leagues and athletes from around the world.

Soccer (EPL)
While soccer salaries lag behind American sports, Premier League clubs pay top dollar. The highest football contracts include:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United): Reported $500,000 per week in wages.
2. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City): $400,000 per week wages.
3. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool): $350,000 weekly salary plus bonuses.
4. Kylian Mbappe (PSG): $28 million annual salary making him the world’s highest paid soccer player.

Big pay-per-view fights earn boxing champions massive upfront purses:

1. Floyd Mayweather: Retired with career earnings estimated over $1 billion from smart investments and 2. huge PPV paydays.
3. Canelo Alvarez (Mexico): Earned $35 million each for fights against GGG, highest paid boxer currently.
4. Anthony Joshua (UK): Earned $75 million from first fight against Andy Ruiz Jr.
5. Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): Senators in his native country, earned over $200 million from boxing.

Majors and sponsorship deals make golf one of the higher earning sports:

1. Tiger Woods: Estimated career earnings of over $1.7 billion including $800+ million in endorsements.
2. Phil Mickelson: Career PGA Tour earnings of around $94 million plus endorsements.
3. Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland): Earned $52 million in 2020, $10 million from sponsorship with Nike.

Cricket sees high wages in major leagues like IPL through broadcasting rights:

1. Virat Kohli (India): Earned $26 million including IPL contract and $24 million annual from endorsements.
2. MS Dhoni (India): Made $31 million in 2018 including $2.5 million annual IPL salary.
3. Pat Cummins (Australia): Highest IPL contract of $3 million in 2023 season.

Race car drivers earn big from competitive salaries and endorsements:

1. Lewis Hamilton (F1): Earned $55 million in 2021, $28 million annual Mercedes contract.
2. -Max Verstappen (F1): $25 million Red Bull contract, could earn over $40 million a year including bonuses and sponsors.
3. -Kevin Harvick (NASCAR): Earned $16 million in 2021 sponsor and race earnings.

Mixed Martial Arts (UFC)
UFC superstars like McGregor earn massive paydays from lucrative PPV matches:

1. Conor McGregor (Ireland): Earned $110 million from Floyd Mayweather boxing bout alone.
2. Israel Adesanya (Nigeria): Earned $6 million disclosed purse for last UFC fight.
3. Francis Ngannou (Cameroon): Earned $600,000 disclosed purse plus PPV bonuses.

Hockey (NHL)
Ice hockey pays well in North America through team contracts:

1. Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers): $100 million 8-year extension, $13 million annual salary.
2. Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs): $58 million 5-year contract extension.
3. Anze Kopitar (LA Kings): $80 million extension over 8 years.

As the commercial scope of global sports continues expanding rapidly, overall wages for top athletes have grown exponentially. With ever-increasing television audiences and sponsorships, we can expect to witness even higher salaries for the emerging champions in the years ahead across different leagues worldwide.

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