What Do Pro Athletes Earn?

LeBron James
Photo by Keith Allison on Flickr

I’d like to see what people like Usain Bolt or Lance Armstrong earn also. Not so much out of jealously, but rather to flog myself for not being more dedicated to sports back when I had the chance.

I’m not even going to think about what some charities could do with half of these athlete’s salary. I wonder if they realize how lucky they are to earn what they earn for doing what they do.

There are a few other leagues missing from my clip. Go to the source to find out what players in the WNBA and in Major League Soccer earn.

Amplify’d from msn.careerbuilder.com

The National Football League is the biggest money maker in American professional sports right now, as its 32 teams earned a combined $7.6 billion in revenue last season. The average team is worth $1 billion, with the Dallas Cowboys ranking No. 1 at $1.65 billion in net worth.

League minimum salary: The league minimum in 2009 was $310,000. That figure will rise to $325,000 in 2010.

Highest-paid player: San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers earned the highest total salary in 2009 at $25.56 million, though $19.5 million of that came via a signing bonus. If you exclude signing bonuses, the Carolina Panthers’ Julius Peppers (now with the Chicago Bears) had the highest annual salary in 2009 at $16.68 million.


Major League Baseball wasn’t too far behind the NFL in revenue last season, just $1.7 billion below at $5.9 billion. What’s $1.7 billion here and there, anyway? Well, it is just slightly more than what the New York Yankees, the most valuable team, are worth at $1.6 billion. The average team is worth $491 million.

League minimum salary: The league minimum for this season is $400,000.

Highest-paid player: Alex Rodriguez will earn the most money this season at $33 million, though the annual salary over his 10-year contract is $27.5 million. Three of the next five highest-paid players are also Yankees (C.C. Sabathia, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira), along with the Phillies’ Ryan Howard and the Twins’ Joe Mauer.


The final numbers have not been released for the 2009-10 season that just concluded, but the National Basketball Association made $3.8 billion in revenue the season before. The Los Angeles Lakers are the most valuable team, worth $607 million, and the average team is worth $367 million.

League minimum salary: The league minimum for the 2009-10 season was $457,588 for rookies.

Highest-paid player: Tracy McGrady earned the most money over the 2009-10 season at $23.24 million.


Like the NBA, the 2009-10 season just finished and the final numbers haven’t been released, but the National Hockey League made $2.82 billion the previous year. The average franchise is worth $223 million, with the Toronto Maple Leafs ranking No. 1 at $470 million.

League minimum salary: The minimum salary was $500,000 for the 2009-10 season.

Highest-paid player: Vincent Lecavalier earned the most of any player at $10 million, exactly $1 million more than Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin, the three players tied for second.

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Rafael is an aviation geek, a consumer advocate, a dad, a multiple personality blogger, a photographer, politically opinionated, a videographer and many other things as well.