There are many advantages to being a professional athlete, such as notoriety and the thrill of competing at the highest level. But for many, the best part is the money. Athletes in pro leagues around the world sign lucrative contracts that pay them tens of millions of dollars per year.
While these athletes certainly want to do well, their contracts guarantee their salaries no matter how poorly they play — or even if they miss games due to injury. But some other competitors have to rely on a single huge event for their payday — and in many cases they may go home empty-handed if they lose.
To determine the highest paying events in sports, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the payouts from events such as combat sports, eSports, team sports, and individual competitions. To do this we used media reports, official league collective bargaining agreements, and earnings databases like Esports Earnings. Some, but not all, of the winnings per player, are estimates of how much the players actually take home. The actual distribution of winnings among players can vary widely based on the league, and even from competition to competition.
While the athletes in these events certainly can make a lot of money, most of them are still nowhere near being the wealthiest. There are dozens of athletes who earn more than $30 million per year based on their contracts alone — which doesn’t include any endorsements or bonuses. There are the highest paid athletes in sports history.
Readers may be surprised to find out just how lucrative eSports have become in recent years. Though these competitions do not have decades of tradition like boxing, tennis, or the NFL, video game tournaments have attracted millions of viewers from around the world. As video games have become more and more popular, some have taken hold as the ultimate display of skill and strategy. These competitions now have multi-million dollar prize pools to entice the best gamers to come and play. These are the most popular video games of all time.