Top 10 Richest Sports In The World (2023)

The richest sports in the world are those that make their athletes filthy rich. Of course, in order to pay so well, the sports themselves have to generate huge sums in revenue so as to keep the teams profitable and well funded. You may therefore find yourself in shock about what the richest sports are; the results you will find here will most likely not be the results you were expecting.

In marketing terms, you may have been given the notion that the widest reach will mean bigger profits. Well, in the area of sports that is not always the case. The purchasing power of the market, rather than size, is what determines how rich a sport will be. Furthermore, some sports have over time attained the reputation of being ‘A rich man’s sport,’ and that naturally attracts markets that are full of money to perpetuate the reality of wealth.

The interplay of depth versus reach of the market may be nowhere else more evident than in the list you are about to read.

Richest Sports in the World

1. Baseball

Baseball is the richest sport in the world. You may find it hard to believe that this sport is only popular in America, and maybe a few pockets of land outside the U.S. would generate such outrageous revenue. The increasing popularity of baseball in Latin American and Caribbean nations has undoubtedly culminated in the massive wealth of the sport.

Well, any wise young person who dreams of being a professional athlete in the U.S. should strongly consider playing baseball because the kind of money in that sport is unbelievable.

The average player in America’s MLB earns about $8.5 million. That is just the average, superstars of the game earn up to double the average, and enjoy the kind of immortality that comes with money. To illustrate baseball cards that feature photos of baseball players are collectible items. While the average card made this year may only be worth a few dollars, it can be quite an expensive item in the next ten years. In fact, the most expensive baseball card was that of Honus Wager which sold for $6.6 million. 

2. Basketball

Basketball is a popular sport, but one that is most popular in America. Basketball has all the trappings of a global sport; there is a global basketball tournament, and basketball is an Olympic sport. It is played all over the world, but in truth one can say that it is most appreciated in America.

However, basketball has a penchant for being associated with money; the average yearly salary obtainable in the American NBA is $3.8 million. While the average is smaller, you may find it hard to believe the kind of money superstar basket-ballers makes. Lebron James makes about 41 million dollars annually, and Kobe Bryant was worth about 600 million dollars at the time of his death.

3. American Football

American Football is the most brutal sport you can think of. But don’t worry; the players are adequately compensated for ramming each other with all the force they can muster. American football is worth about 200 billion dollars in total market value. American football players earn about 2.4 million dollars on average, but superstars earn much higher than that. For example, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs makes about $45 million per year, and Tom Brady has a net worth of about 270 million dollars.

American Football also rewards its fans; autographed shirts of famous players can fetch handsome sums of money, while football trading cards are also quite valuable.

4. Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey is one of the richest sports in the world, but also one of the most brutal. This sport rivals American Football for its insane tackles and willful slamming of one another. It is after all a contact sport.  Ice Hockey is not a global sport, but you could call it a rich countries sport because most of the countries where ice hockey is popular are affluent countries. America tops this list, and there is also Canada and some parts of Europe.

The average yearly earnings of Ice Hockey players is 2.2 million dollars. However, that is just the average; key players can earn as high as 6 times that much. Auston Matthews earns about 15 million dollars per year.

5. Football

Football, or Soccer as Americans continue to call it is the definition of a global sport. The world cup is the most viewed sporting event in the world, with a total of over 3 billion people tuning in to watch the last edition. Football is also one of the richest sports in the world with a total industry value of about 200 billion dollars.

However, football is the most difficult sport to measure; this sport is played in the heart of Europe, and also in the poor countries of post-war Africa. The earnings in the developed leagues vary too greatly from what is obtainable in other countries that are poor. However, the average yearly earnings of professional footballers in the English top division is 1.5 million dollars.

Leaving the average far behind, top superstars of football earn immense sums of money: Christiano Ronaldo makes about 26.52 million pounds per year, while Lionel Messi has a total net worth estimated to be around 600 million dollars.  

6. Golf

Golf is often called the rich man’s game, and so it’s no surprise that it is one of the richest sports in the world. As a matter of fact, this is one sport that does not require all the physical strain that goes with most of the sports we have already highlighted above. 

Golf has a total market value of about 7 billion dollars. On average, players who participate at the PGA tour make about $80,000 per year. Of course, the bigger players make much more.

7. Cricket

Cricket cannot be called a global sport, but it is a serious sport; one that is played by just a few countries of the world. Nevertheless, Cricket has a total estimated market value of about 6 billion dollars, and the earnings per year of professional cricketers is put at $60,000, although we all know that the bigger players earn far more than that.

8. Boxing

Despite being one of the richest sports in the world, boxing is not something you want to get involved in unless you are extremely courageous, or extremely gifted. This is perhaps the only professional sport where the ultimate goal is to knock your opponent unconscious with heavy punches.

Statistics show that the average earnings of professional boxers is about $50,000 per year, but in truth, boxing is a winner that takes all sport where the top athletes make all the money, while the others just make up the numbers.

The sport is estimated to be worth about $348.4 million, while top boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr is estimated to be worth $450 million.

9. Tennis

Tennis is another well-funded sport; it is one that produces rich and famous stars that are recognized wherever they go. Furthermore, Tennis is a global sport; it is an Olympic sport, and there are several tournaments held in various corners of the world on both clay and grass surfaces. The sport is valued at about $6.06 billion.

The ATP Finals awards about 4 million in prize money, while Roland Garros awards about $2.6 million. A professional can play up to 4 tournaments a year, and that means up to 12 million a year without including the fees earned through endorsement fees.

10. Formula 1

Car racing, Formula 1 specifically can be a very financially rewarding venture; albeit a very dangerous one. There are a few fatalities every few years in this sport, and so one wonders whether you have to have suicidal tendencies to become a formula 1 driver.

However, it is quite a rich sport with a total valuation of 6 billion dollars. The average yearly earnings of professionals in this sport is $70,000. Superstars in this sport are high earners; Sebastien Vettel made 42 million dollars in one year.

Read Also:  


What Is The Richest Sport In The World?

From conventional wages and bonuses, prize money from competitions or tournaments they engage in, as well as endorsement deals, an average sports star has multiple alternatives and channels of income. This is why names like Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Lionel Messi, Kevin Durant, etc. feature in the lists of the richest men in the world.

However, it is apt to note that while it is arguable that all kinds of sport are lucrative, it is also apt to note that some kinds of sports are more lucrative than their equivalents.