Top 12 Richest/Most-Paid Sports in the World [2021 Edition]

Sports, it’s the word that ensures instant happiness and thrill. It has been with us for ages, as far back as human civilization.

Indeed, it is the most effective method to bond people and unites them in a common circle. 

Also, sport is a topic that can be talked about in numerous directions. We have been talking about even its atomic content, and today, we will dive into one of its main roots.

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

Highest paying sports
Highest paying sports

Keeping fame and money in mind, currently, the sports industry depicts a net worth of around $700 billion globally.

Of course, this industry is booming and covers approximately 1% of the world’s GDP.

Also, the amount predicted includes all the spending and expenses on sporting goods, apparel, equipment, health, and fitness.

Top 12 Richest/Most-Paid Sports in the World 

The sports industry is full of entertainment factors, lucrative deals, and renowned players. Here, we will dive into the richest of top sports and the fame and money they pull.

12. Volleyball

  • Current Industry value: $261.1 million
  • Average salary: $44,680

As we start with the bottom of the list, 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. 

11. Boxing

  • Current Industry value: $348.4 million
  • Average salary: $50,000

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. 

10. Auto racing 

  • Current Industry value: $5 billion 
  • Average salary: $70,000

Auto racing
Auto racing

Falling under the top ten is auto racing, with a global market value of $5 billion.

Also, as per the predictions, this field is to boom up to $9.4 billion in global market value by 2026. Altogether, this revenue includes sponsorship, advertising, ticketing, merchandising, hosting fees, and broadcasting. 

On a similar note, a professional auto racer is estimated to have an average salary of $70,000.

Also, it starts with the median value of $40,904 a year, which amounts to $19.67 an hour. Additionally, it can also go up to $130,000 in earnings per race. 

Similarly, it is the most popular at Monaco Grand Prix, and as a whole, this sport attracts around 87.4 million audiences.

Some of the richest auto racers include Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, and Ken Block, to name a few. 

9. Cricket

  • Current Industry value: $6 billion 
  • Average salary: $60,000

One of the most famous sports with an audience count of almost 2 to 3 billion depicts a global market value of $6 billion. Cricket is most prominent in India, Bangladesh, UK, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka as per the viewership rating. 

Also, the salary gap ranges from around $20,000. Inside the field, some of the greatest and richest cricketers in the world include Joe Root, Virat Kohli, Tim Paine, and so on. 

For its overall review, cricket has been more and more dominating over the years. 

8. Tennis

  • Current Industry value: $6.06 billion 
  • Average salary: $64,033

Often tennis is called a traditional sport, which has gained increasing popularity over the past years.

As per the statistics, over 87 million people indulge in it and portray a global market value of $6.06 million. It is widely popular in Australia.

Likewise, professional tennis earns an average salary of $64,033 per year. Furthermore, it depicts a median salary of $31,000, and the average career prize money amounts to the US $300,000. 

Similarly, they even earn a fair amount from endorsement deals and appearance fees. Today, some of the richest tennis players include Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, and Rodger Federer. 

7. Golf

  • Current Industry value: $7 billion 
  • Average salary: $51,890

With the start of the global pandemic, golf is highly known as the silver lining on the dark cloud. Indeed, that stereotypical title as the game for “rich old men” is far gone as everyone from different age groups and classes enjoys it equally. 

Meanwhile, this sport stands with a global market value of $7 billion, and almost 30 million people indulge in this sport just in the States.

Talking about its earnings, professional golfers earns an average salary of $51,890 a year.

As golf starters, they earn around $24,072 per year or $12 per hour. However, even with the low base salary, they earn enough through endorsements and sponsorships.

Overall, some of the richest golfers today are Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, and Greg Norman. 

6. Cycling 

  • Current Industry value: $57.49 billion 
  • Average salary: $65,454

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

Currently, the richest cyclists in the world are Chris Froome, Tadej Pogačar, and Primož Roglič. 

Click to follow on about the top ten most dangerous sports of all time.  

5. Ice Hockey

  • Current Industry value: $60 billion 
  • Average salary: $2.69 million

Ice Hockey
Ice Hockey

Falling under the top five richest sports, Ice hockey gathers a fandom of over 2.2 billion people.

As it grows as the most popular sport, it widely spreads globally and depicts a global market value of $60 billion

As of 2021, the average salary of professional NHL players is estimated to be around $2.69 million. The minimum salary commences with around $700,000. In the meantime, they have sponsorship deals for their equipment and gear. 

At present, the highest-paid NHL player is McDavid Connor, followed by Panarin Artemi. To date, the highest-paid NHL player is Joe Sakic.

4. Soccer

  • Current Industry value: $600 billion 
  • Average salary: $1.5 million

Widely known as football, soccer is played in around 200 countries globally by approximately 250 million players.

It is one of the most well-known sports and depicts a global market value of $600 billion. Likewise, the average earnings of a professional athlete in this field are $398,725.

Often it’s salary ranges from $14,441 to $384,204. Altogether, the players topping the chart of most paid soccer players are Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar

3. American Football

  • Current Industry value: $200 billion 
  • Average salary: $860,000

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.

2. Baseball

  • Current Industry value: $40 billion 
  • Average salary: 4.17 million U.S. dollars 

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.

1. Basketball 

  • Current Industry value: $90 billion
  • Average salary: $7 million


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. 

Here, some of the highest-earning basketball players include LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook, to name a few. 

You might also be interested in the top 20 richest MMA fighters in the world. 


Overall, we come to the end of the topmost paid sorts out there. Indeed, some do pay insanely high amounts. Anyways, with the end of this series, we will be back with another interesting series. 

Before the end, here’s a quick walkthrough with the list.

  1. Basketball
  2. Baseball 
  3. American Football / Rugby 
  4. Soccer
  5. Ice Hockey 
  6. Cycling
  7. Golf
  8. Tennis
  9. Cricket
  10. Auto racing
  11. Boxing
  12. Volleyball

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