Sport is lucrative. Any you don’t even have to be number one in the game to reap the rewards. In golf, Chesson Hadley has already earned over a million dollars this year. And he is all the way down at number 62 on the PGA list of earners. Throw in a few sponsorship deals and that figure gets bumped up significantly.
But how does that compare to the other top sports stars earnings? Lionel Messi is the highest paid footballer in the world. The Argentina and Barcelona FC star earns $111 million a year, taking home $84 million in salary and winning bonuses. He can also add a further $27 million in sponsorship deals.
However, not all sports stars have the skill of Lionel Messi but if they are at the top of their game, then the money is still huge.
Stephen Strasburg, of the Washington Nationals, is the highest paid baseball player of the game in 2019. His seven-year contract (2017-23) is worth $175m but annually he banks in excess of $38m.
Just a fraction below that is his team mate Max Scherzer whose $210m contract earns him the tidy sum of $37.4m per year.
And the numbers don’t get any less eye watering as you venture down the list of top baseball earners. Zack Greinke, Mike Trout, David Price, Clayton Kershaw, and Miguel Cabrera are all on $30M+ per year.
But highlighting seven or eight top earners doesn’t really do the sport any justice. There are hundreds of players in the MLB and not all of them are on anything near the players above.
And even though some MLB players earn a lot, it’s still behind what other American sports stars earn. In 2018 Aaron Rodgers, for the Green Bay Packers, took home $75m in earnings from salary, bonuses and sponsorship. LeBron James is still the highest paid player in the NBA on over $88m per year.
So sure, there are plenty of professional sports men and women who make a lot of money. But for the vast majority, they are just scraping by.
As an example, Ruby Walsh, one of the greatest living jockey’s has earned £24m – since 2008. That’s eleven years to make what some baseball players make in just one year. However, Walsh’s earning power dwarfs that of his fellow jockeys. The basic fee for a jockey in a jumps race is just £164. So you have to race a lot and win a lot to even earn a basic livable wage.
Which is probably the position that the vast majority of baseball players find themselves in every year!