May 2, 2012

Who’s making the most money in sports? It may surprise you!

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball, Basketball, Football, Ice Hockey, Soccer

Every year ESPN: The Magazine comes out with on the most interesting lists in sports – the highest-paid players list. They go into every athlete’s salary in every major sport – and some obscure sports – and tell us who made the most money just for competing. Sports Illustrated also does a similar annual list, but that includes endorsement deals and other income.

So who were this year’s athletes and teams that stood out?

-It’s fairly obvious for anyone to see that soccer is the sport is the highest paying team sport. Out of the teams with the top 10 average weekly pay, seven were European soccer clubs. Helped by the fact that there will never be a salary cap in such a global game, most of the teams also increased over last year’s numbers. Barcelona’s average salaries went up 10% to almost $8.7 million a year. Manchester City’s average salary went up an astounding 26%, moving them from 10th to third overall.

-Despite Barcelona having the highest average salaries, super-duperstar Lionel Messi isn’t the highest-paid Argentine. That title belongs to Sergio Aguero, who transferred to City during the summer. He’ll pull down a cool $16.6 million this year.

-Think a soccer player is England’s top paid athlete? Will guess again. It’s actually boxer David Haye, who remarkably made more than $24 million for one fight with Wladimir Klitschko. Simply stunning.

-Spain’s top paid athlete isn’t a footballer either, it’s F-1’s Fernando Alonso, who made a mind-boggling $40 million in 2011. Even more astounding is that the F-1 champion Sebastien Vettel wasn’t Germany’s top earner, losing out to Dirk Nowitzki at $19 million.

-But if you thought that was outstanding, Italy’s highest-paid athlete races on two wheels. Valentino Rossi, a Moto GP racer for Ducati made $20 million to top that country’s chart.

-Then there’s the sad state of Canada’s athletes, being topped by Jason Bay’s albatross of a contract. At least Joey Votto, a more respectable player will top this list soon.

-The NFL’s highest paid player wasn’t anybody you would expect it to be. Not a pretty boy QB like Tom Brady, not a diva receiver like Megatron and not a star running back like Adrian Peterson. It was Charles Johnson, who thanks to a massive signing bonus and front-loaded deal, made $34 million from the Carolina Panthers last year.

-Have you ever wondered how much fringe sport stars make compared to their mainstream brethren? Well look no further. Sean Rash made $140K in bowling prizes, Phil Taylor made nearly a million in darts. Joey Chestnut won $205K in Major League Eating, a quarter as much as Emmanuel Mutai made in distance running prizes ($815K). The lowest top dog made only $50,400, but also got a truck for his troubles; it was Dallas Seavey, winning of the Iditarod.

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