They race cars, eat hot dogs, throw darts, pound faces — and make a great living at it. How great? Take a look – you might be surprised. The category “money” below represents official base salary or earnings from the most recently completed season or calendar year, and excludes endorsements, appearance fees, sponsorship money and other sources of extra income, unless otherwise noted. Figures have been converted to U.S. dollars where applicable. For those spors not listed, official salary data were unavailable. Road-running data courtesy of Association of Road Racing Statisticians.
- Lowest-paying sport: women’s bowling.
- Highest-paying sports (tie): baseball and boxing.
- Gender breakdown: 32 men, 11 women.
- Total money earned: $238,536,500.
- Average amount earned per athlete: $5,547,360.
|Auto Racing||Kimi Raikkonen||World Rally Championship||2010 Race Winnings (plus $12.7M from severed F1 contract)||$26,333,333|
|Baseball||Alex Rodriguez||MLB||2011 Salary||$32,000,000|
|Basketball||Kobe Bryant||NBA||2010-11 Salary||$24,800,000|
|Beach Volleyball (Men)||Philip Dalhausser/Todd Rogers||FIVB||2010 Prize Money||$387,700|
|Beach Volleyball (Women)||Larissa Franca/Juliana Felisberta Da Silva||FIVB||2010 Prize Money||$351,300|
|Billiards (Men)||Darren Appleton||N/A||2010 Prize Money||$118,494|
|Billiards (Women)||Ga-Young Kim||N/A||2010 Prize Money||$67,930|
|Bowling (Men)||Walter Ray Williams Jr.||PBA||2009-10 Prize Money||$152,670|
|Bowling (Women)||Shannon Pluhowsky||PBA||2009-10 Prize Money||$40,300|
|Boxing (N. American Purse Fights)||Manny Pacquiao||N/A||2010 Estimated Purse (two fights)||$32,000,000|
|Bull Riding||Renato Nunes||Professional Bull Riders||2010 Prize Money||$1,594,527|
|Darts||Phil Taylor||Professional Darts Corporation||2010 Prize Money||$1,044,000|
|Distance Running (Men)||Samuel Wanjiru||Various||2010 Prize Money||$617,000|
|Distance Running (Women)||Liliya Shobukhova||Various||2010 Prize Money||$695,000|
|Drag Racing||Larry Dixon||NHRA Top Fuel||2010 Prize Money||$1,371,000|
|Eating||Joey Chestnut||Major League Eating||2010 Earnings||$218,500|
|Equestrian (Men)||McLain Ward||Show Jumping||2010 Earnings||$1,280,788|
|Equestrian (Women)||Laura Kraut||Show Jumping||2010 Earnings||$627,907|
|Fishing||Kevin Vandam||Bassmaster Elite Series||2010 Earnings||$915,500|
|Football||Peyton Manning||NFL||2010 Salary||$15,800,000|
|Golf (Men)||Luke Donald||European Tour PGA||2010 Tournament Winnings||$5,867,601|
|Golf (Women)||Na Yeon Choi||LPGA||2010 Tournament Winnings||$1,871,165|
|Hockey (Tie)||Vincent Lecavalier||NHL||2010-11 Salary||$10,000,000|
|Roberto Luongo||NHL||2010-11 Salary||$10,000,000|
|Horse Racing (Jockey)||Ramon A. Dominguez||N/A||2010 Earnings (not individual share)||$17,411,880|
|MMA||Brock Lesnar||UFC||Estimated Prize Money, ppv share||$5,300,000|
|Poker||Jonathan Duhamel||Various||Land-Based Tournament Winnings, April 4, 2010- April 3, 2011||$9,443,519|
|Racquetball||Kane Waselenchuk||International Racquetball Tour||IRT 2010 Event, Appearance Fees, Earnings, Sponsorships||$300,000|
|Rodeo||Trevor Brazile||Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association||2010 Earnings||$507,920|
|Skiing (Men)||Ivica Kostelic||FIS World Cup Alpine skiing events||2010-11 Prize Money||$464,440|
|Skiing (Women)||Lindsey Vonn||FIS World Cup Alpine skiing events||2010-11 Prize Money||$509,542|
|Sled Dog||John Baker||Iditarod||2011 First-Place Racing Prize Money||$50,400|
|Soccer||Cristiano Ronaldo||La Liga||2010-11 Salary||$19,500,000|
|Squash||Nick Matthew||Professional Squash Association||2010 Prize Money||$166,926|
|Sumo||Hakuho||Japan Sumo Association||2010 Salary||$400,000|
|Surfing (Men)||Kelly Slater||ASP World Tour||2010 Prize Money||$516,000|
|Surfing (Women)||Stephanie Gilmore||ASP World Tour||2010 Prize Money||$140,700|
|Tennis (Men)||Rafael Nadal||ATP||2010 Prize Money||$10,171,998|
|Tennis (Women)||Kim Clijsters||WTA||2010 Prize Money||$5,035,060|
|Triathlon (Men)||Tim Don||International Triathlon Union||2010 Prize Money||$223,600|
|Triathlon (Women)||Emma Snowsill||International Triathlon Union||2010 Prize Money||$239,800|
Source:� May 2, 2011, issue of ESPN The Magazine.