Top 13 Richest Sports In The World 2023: No 10 Will Shock You

One of the most popular activities among all ages is sports, which has already established itself as a profitable profession.


Professional athletes earn millions of dollars each year and are part of the elite of the global rich. Besides being immensely popular with fans, sportsmen also enjoy a lavish lifestyle that no one can imagine.

This is only possible because of the massive money flowing through the sports industry right now. Apart from that, people are becoming increasingly drawn to some of the world’s richest sports while having a desire for fame and money.

An estimate of the size of the sports industry worldwide was $1.3 trillion according to a recent study. Of that amount, only the US received $520 billion.


Recent reports by Forbes, a reputable media organization, report that the value of sports media rights will increase from $15 billion in 2014 to $21 billion in 2021. Unbelievable, isn’t it?

Which is the richest sports in the world today? or which sports make the most money?

Now, take a look at the full scenario of the richest sports in the world in 2022, or you can say highest paid sports in the world.


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Top 20 Richest Sports In The World

1. Basketball

As one of the top three popular games globally, basketball is also the richest sport with a global market value of $90 billion. Its popularity has crossed over 2 to 2.5 billion fans worldwide.

As for most of the viewers in this game are based in the US, Canada, China, Japan, and the Philippines. Also, a basket player earns an average salary of $44,444 that amounts to $21.37 an hour.

High-profile basketballers earn big and statistics show that they have various sources of income including endorsement deals and salaries paid by their respective teams. Basketball has been a high-paying sport for long and this can be substantiated through the massive sums its participants have been earning for long.

Richest Sports

In 1992, Michael Jordan claimed the highest spot on Forbes’ list of Richest Players with the overall income of $35.9. Meanwhile, his overall income rose to the sums of $36.0 and $43.9 million in 1993 and 1995 respectively.

Presently we have basketball athletes with the likes of Lebron James ($86.2 Million), Kevin Durant ($60.6 Million), Stephen Curry ($47.3 Million), and James Harden ($46.6 Million) are among the current highest-earning athletes in the world.

2. Baseball

While Cuba has dominated the international scenes with 25 world championships, it is the Major League Baseball (MLB) in the US that has popularised the game globally. In the present market, the baseball industry is valued at US$40 billion. However, very few countries actively participate in the sport.

The MLB, despite going an entire season with the pandemic restrictions, generated a revenue of US$8.95 billion last season, with each franchise bagging an average of US$298 million in revenue.

The Los Angeles Dodgers franchise has four of the six highest-paid players in the MLB – David Price, Trevor Bauer, Clayton Kershaw, and Albert Pujols, all earning salaries in excess of US$30 million.

Through the ups and downs of viewership and playtime, baseball is still one of the most popular worldwide. So, it stands with a global market value of $40 million.

As per the sources, an MLB player makes around $4.17 million with a minimum average salary of $570.5 thousand.

Currently, Mike Trout tops their chart as the highest-paid baseball player with an annual salary of 37.17 million U.S. dollars.

3. American Football

Often called the Gridiron, American Football deserves a third place in our list of richest sports in the world in 2022. It currently has an overall global industry value of nearly $200 billion, according to recent estimations.

The average income of players participating in the National Football League touched $2.4 million this year. Needless to say, flagship players of all the franchises earn much more than that.

NFL has generated an unbelievable $11,394 million in revenue last year, the most among any league of any sport.

Besides, NHL teams generated an average of $356.1 million in revenue this year. Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford have earned their place among the top 10 highest-paid athletes this year. Ryan made $67.3 million in total this year, and Stafford secured $59.5 million in his pocket.

American football, also otherwise known as rugby, is highly played all over the world. According to the report, around 3.5 billion people in the world are indulged in it.

Currently, the American football industry depicts a global market value of $200 billion.

As for the minimum base salary commences with $660 thousand with an average earning of $860,000. As for the rookie, this sport pays $435,000.

Well, some of the highest-earning NFL players include Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers.

4. Soccer/Football

The most popular sports in the world, association football or soccer, has the highest industry share among all sports.

It has a total industry value of nearly $600 billion, 43% of the whole global financial sports market. Footballers participating in Premier League now earn an average yearly salary of 1.5 million.

Another popular tournament, MLS, assures nearly $600,000 average yearly salary to its footballers. Premier League earned $5,430 million in revenue last year, with an estimated revenue of $267 million per team. And, that feat helped it to secure its place among the richest sports in the world right now.

Two of the greatest footballers of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, hold their places among the top-3 high-paid footballers this year. Messi earned $111 million in total, and Ronaldo bagged $108 million this year.

Football earnings are usually not based only on salaries but also include bonuses, patrons, rights, backing, and, sometimes, a cut of club profits.

5. Ice Hockey

The national sport of Canada and one of the most popular sports in the US, Ice Hockey, houses some of the richest athletes.

According to recent reports, the total industry value to ice hockey already touched $60 billion this year.

Needless to say, the US and Canada have the highest stake in that market value. A professional ice hockey player participating in NHL earns an annual average salary of $2.2 million.

And, that stat helped it to secure its place among the richest sports in the world in 2022.

The National Hockey League earned a total revenue of $4,338 million last year. Each team participating in the NHL has its fair share of $140 million.

The cover star of EA Sports NHL 18, Connor McDavid, has earned $19 million this year.

He bagged $15 million as a salary from his team. Besides, he also earned $4 million from his endorsement deals with megabrands such as Adidas, BioSteel, CIBC, and Rogers Communications.

This highest paying professional sport relatively pays higher compared to field hockey.

6. Cycling

Tour de France is surely the most demanding and biggest arena for cycling. Also, everyone from the books and corners of the world is familiar with cycling.

Talking just about cycling apparel, it portrays a global market value sized at USD 3241.8 million. As a while, cycling has an incredible global market value of $57.49 billion.

As for professional cyclists, they earn an average salary of $65,454 with $31.47 an hour. Normally, professionals can make up to $171,000. However, in the UCI World Tour, they earn a minimum wage of $2.35 million.

7. Golf

Golf is one of the loveliest sports that enthuse audiences and anyone who is conversant with it should be able to mention one or more reputable golfers of all time. Tiger Woods is unarguably one of the world’s greatest athletes within and beyond his sports genre. In his historic achievements, he topped Forbes’ list of Richest Players for 11 times.

His first emergence atop the list came in 2002 with the massive income of $69 million. He repeated this incredible feat for 10 more times in the years 2006 ($90 million), 2005 ($87 million), 2007 ($100 million), 2003 ($78 million), 2011 ($75 million), 2004 ($80.3 million), 2013 ($78.1 million), 2009 ($110 million), 2010 ($105 million) and 2008 ($115 million).

Prior to Tiger Woods’ mouthwatering record, golfers like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus earned the 4th place and the 3rd place respectively on Forbes list of Richest Players in 1994. Arnold amassed the total income of $13.6 million while Nicklaus earned $14.8 million.

8. Tennis

Tennis is a well-known sport with a large number of participants from around the world. WTA tours is a sporting event in Tennis and the substantial wages earned by its participants have made it one of the world’s highest-paying tournaments. Like the athletes of other sports genres, some Tennis stars have appeared on Forbes’ lists of Richest Players.

Richest Sports

Having earned the total income of $11 million in 1992, Andre Agassi claimed the sixth spot on Forbes’ list of Richest Players. In the subsequent year [1993], another Tennis star –Jim Courier – earned a total income of $12.6 million and clinched the ninth spot on the same list.

Roger Federer, one of the world’s leading Tennis stars, amassed the overall income of $35 million in 2008 and thereupon, he emerged sixth on Forbes’ list of Richest Players. Meanwhile, he reclaimed this feat with the net incomes of $71.5 million and $43 million in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

9. Cricket

Only 15 countries play this sport and actively take part in international competitions. However, it surely deserves its place among the richest sports in the world this year due to the overall cash flow. According to recent estimation, the total industry value of cricket touched $6 billion this year. Besides, the average yearly salary of a professional cricketer also will touch nearly $60,000 in 2022.

One of the biggest cricket events, the Indian Premier League, had earned $633.62 million last season. Besides, each franchise of that tournament bagged $79.2 million in revenue on average.

Indian skipper and one of the best cricket captains, Virat Kohli, holds his place among the richest athletes in 2022. This year, he earned nearly $24 million, the most among all professional cricketers. Kohli made most of his money, around $20 million, through his endorsement deals.

10. Auto Racing

The current global market value of the auto racing industry already touched $5 billion in 2021. This year 2022, it is supposed to cross the $6.5 billion benchmark. And, that feat alone has earned it the place among the richest sports in the world this year.

As of 2022, the average income of racing stars touched $70,000 per year. However, pro drivers earn up to $200,000 per race in big events such as the Grand American Rolex Series.

One of the biggest events of Auto racing, Formula One, has earned an estimated revenue of $1,830 million last season. Each team of F1 has its fair share of $166.4 million. Sebastian Vettel also earned his place among the top 20 highest-paid athletes this year. He earned a total of $42.3 million, out of which $42 million came through his tournament earnings.

11. Boxing

With the years of thrill and excitement provided by this sport, boxing has always been one of the most entertaining and famous sports worldwide. But sadly, its popularity has been declining gradually.

Today, the global industry value of boxing is $348.4 million. Additionally, a professional boxer is estimated to earn an average salary of $50,000. As an amateur, the professional fighters earn around $1,000 to $4,000 per fight.

Likewise, it gradually increases to the midrange of $5,000 to $10,000 per fight. Not to mention, boxers even gain extra bonuses for their award of the fights and also have separate sponsors and endorsements deals.

As for the fighters, today, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Sugar Ray Robinson, and much more stay on the top. Altogether, it is the most popular in the United States, and Las Vegas stands a the central location for it.

12. Volleyball

Volleyball has been a growing sport. Most acclaimed it to be a “girl’s game”; however, it has been expanding in the global market. Today, volleyball’s global market value is $261.1 million.

As we look for the professionals’ earnings on the field, volleyball players earn an average of $19,910 to $187,200, with a median salary of $44,680.

Also, it is known as a recreational activity, and almost 800 million people globally enjoy it.

At present, it is the most popular in Brazil. As for the most popular volleyball player, Ivan Zaytsev is widely titled “the king of the volleyball.”

In the meantime, some of the top volleyball players are Wilfredo Leon, Jenia Grebennikov, and Matthew Anderson, to name a few.

13. Motorsports

The current global market of the Motorsport industry has already eclipsed the US$5bn mark. By the end of 2022, it is projected to cross the US$6.5bn threshold, making it one of the richest sports in the world. One of the biggest motorsport events, Formula One, has earned an estimated revenue of US$1.83 billion last year.

Richest Sports

Lewis Hamilton, who earned a spot among the top 10 highest-paid athletes this year, earned a total of US$82 million, out of which US$70 million came through on-track earnings.

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FAQs Regarding Richest Sports In The World

Which sport has the most money in the world?

The NBA has the highest player salaries of any professional sports league in the world. Basketball players earn an annual average of 8.32 million U.S. dollars. Thus, basketball is the world’s most lucrative sport.

Who is the richest football club?

Barcelona is considered the richest football club in the world. Despite having a revenue drop of €125 million to €715m in 2019-20, Barcelona is still the world’s richest football club in 2021 according to Deloitte.

What sport is worth the most money?

The National Football League (NFL) has a value of $13 billion. In the past, the NFL was reported to have generated $13 billion in revenue, but more recent estimates take that figure down to $8.78 billion after overhead and expenses. In the world, the National Football League is the largest and the most profitable sports organization.


Sports like track & field, and mixed martial arts also deserve their mention in this list. Many great players participating in these sports have secured their places in the list of richest sportsmen this year.

Sports is a verifiable industry, and economists better start treating it as such. Although average sportsmen and women may not make remarkable earning, the rule applies with almost any other field of endeavor- only the best of the best make huge earnings. If you are a young person who is athletically inclined you can do yourself a world of good to choose a sport with good earning potential.

Long gone are the eras where sports were seen as mere health exercises meant to promote ones’ physical well-being. Sports, in the contemporary period, have evolved and developed into a highly lucrative field for those who partake in it professionally. This reality is clearly evident in the fact that some of the world’s wealthiest people are sportsmen.

However, there are many other Richest Sports in the World, but we just took 13 out of main sports for this list.


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