Major sports athletes in the United States are signing record-setting contracts at a record-setting pace. That makes them North America’s highest-paid sports stars. Some of the major professional sports’ top talented stars fully earn their huge paychecks while some become free-agent busts or salary-cap hogging underachievers.
Sports leagues have incredible revenue sources from television contracts, licensing revenues and modern facilities with high-price amenities that are allowing teams looking for championships to play their players enormous.
Let’s take a look at the highest paid stars in each of the major sports in America.
The Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout holds the most lucrative contract in baseball history, according to cotsbaseballcontracts.com.
Trout’s current 12-year deal runs through 2030 and will pay him $426.5 million when it is all said and done. He is scheduled to make $39 million this season from his baseball salary alone.
Last week, Trout received his $20 million signing bonus.
Philadelphia Phillies megastar Bryce Harper made a big splash in free agency before the 2019 season, inking a deal worth $330 million that runs through 2031, according to Forbes.com.
The 26-year-old Harper has Philly with high hopes after some courting by a few of the usual teams that pay out big money contracts. Instead, Harper sets the expectation bar high as he gets ready to collect half of his $20 million signing bonus this month.
Giancarlo Stanton, of the New York Yankees, currently is in the fourth year of a $325 million dollar deal that runs through 2027.
The San Diego Padres made a rare splash into free agency before the 2019 season by giving Manny Machado a $300 million deal that goes through 2028. He also got a $20 million signing bonus and is expected to make $30 million in salary this season.
Basketball superstar Steph Curry isn’t some underpaid overachiever.
The sure Hall of Fame superstar currently demands pro basketball’s most expensive contract at a guaranteed $166,476,240, according to basketball-reference.com.
Curry’s deal runs through 2022 when his salary will peak at over $45 million.
Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul makes a lot of money but hasn’t achieved ultimate success.
Paul’s contract, which also runs through 2022, guarantees him $159,730,592 million, according to basketball-reference.com.
Right behind Paul is another big-time guard with limited championship success in Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook’s contract runs through 2023 when he will make $46,662,000 that season, which will be just slightly more than the Rockets’ James Harden, who had the highest future single-season expected salary currently at $46,872,000 although a few of the top paid players will have expired deals prior to that season.
Determining the highest paid player in the U.S.’s most popular professional sport can be a bit objective. The lifespan of NFL contracts run the gamut by position. That being said, quarterbacks rule the roost.
The Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson made headlines and went viral at the same time when he announced to the world from a social media post recorded from his bedroom that he – and his wife, Ciara – had agreed to a $107 million deal that pays him an average of $35 million annually, according to sportingnews.com.
Veteran signal-caller Ben Rothlisberger, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is set to make a guaranteed $37.5 million this season which includes his average annual salary of $34 million. Meanwhile,
The Philadelphia Eagles, meanwhile, made a huge decision with their commitment to star Carson Wentz, committing $107.9 million of guaranteed money, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, to their man behind center despite the championship success of his former back up. Wentz’s average salary is now around $32 per season.
On the ice, the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid commands the second-highest salary in the National Hockey League at $15 million per year, including bonus money, according to Forbes.com. However, his endorsement deals, which total $4 million this season, making him the highest-earning player in the league.
Toronto Maple Leafs’ center John Tavares has the highest overall salary at $15.9 million this season, according to Forbes.com
Montreal’s Carey Price is the highest paid goaltender and third highest-salaried player overall at $15 million per season.
Meanwhile, Toronto FC currently pays out the top two highest total compensated players in Major League Soccer in forwarding Sebastian Giovinco ($7.115 million) and midfield Michael Bradley ($6.5 million).
Forward Carlos Vela, of LAFC, is the third-highest paid player in North America’s top tier at $6.292 million, followed by Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who actually has the league’s highest base salary at $6.1 million (Bradley is second at $6 million base).
The WNBA has a salary structure that hardly separates the league’s top players from those that have played just as long. Many pros play in Europe during the WNBA’s offseason, often for more pay and notoriety, according to Investopedia.com
DeWanna Bonner, of the Phoenix Mercury, will make $127,500 this season as the league’s top earner.
Last season, the maximum a player in the WNBA could make was $113.
This season, three of the top five WNBA rookies are scheduled to make $53,537, while other WNBA rookies will be paid close to $42,000, which is about half the median U.S. household income, according to Black Enterprise magazine.