Which Sports Stars Earn the Most per Minute

Updated: 9243 Other

Ever wondered which top athletes earn the most per minute in their sport? Our sports betting site delves into the earnings of the highest-paid athletes, analyzing their minutes on the field, court, or ring to reveal who makes the most money per minute of competitive action. ?⏱️?

Which Sports Stars Earn the Most per Minute

Image: Huw Fairclough//Shutterstock

Dan Tracey Data Scientist and Football Editor

Writer, analyst, podcaster, Spurs fan. Three out of four is not bad. If there is a data angle, I will find it.

We all know that the top athletes in the world are incredibly wealthy, earning millions and millions of dollars each year. But which of the world’s top sports people earn the most per minute they are taking part in their sport?

As a sports betting site, we wanted to study the earnings of the highest-paid athletes in the past twelve months and compare this with how many minutes they spent on the field, court, or ring, to find out who makes the most money for every minute of competitive action.

Time Is Money: Revealing the Top Athletes' Per-Minute Earnings in Sports!

📊💸 Curious about the 💰per-minute earnings of top athletes? 🏆🤑 We studied the highest-paid athletes over the past year and matched it with their time ⌛️on the field, court, or ring. Find out who earns the 💸most for every minute of competitive action! ⬇️🥊🏀🎾🏈🏒

Earnings Per Minute by Athlete

Rank Name Sport On-The-Field Earnings Minutes played Earnings Per Minute To Earn $1m
1 Anthony Joshua Boxing $75,000,000 6 $12,500,000 5 Seconds
2 Aaron Rodgers Football $71,800,000 60 $1,196,667 51 Seconds
3 Canelo Alvarez Boxing $75,000,000 108 $694,444 1 Minutes, 27 Seconds
4 Tyson Fury Boxing $42,000,000 66 $636,364 1 minute, 35 seconds
5 Neymar Soccer $80,000,000 386 $207,254 4 Minutes, 50 Seconds
6 Joe Burrow Football $96,000,000 600 $160,000 6 Minutes, 15 Seconds
7 Deshaun Watson Football $46,000,000 360 $127,778 7 minutes, 50 seconds
8 Kirk Cousins Football $60,000,000 480 $125,000 8 Minutes, 00 Seconds
9 Lamar Jackson Football $98,500,000 1080 $91,204 10 Minutes, 58 Seconds
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Anthony JoshuaImage: Huw Fairclough//Shutterstock

Anthony Joshua - $12,500,000 Per Minute

🥊💰💪 The king of the ring and our earnings list? It's none other than Anthony Joshua 👑✨With just 1 fight and only two rounds needed to win, AJ picked up a cool $12.5m a minute for his 6 minutes work. 🤑💲

The king of the ring and also the king of our earnings list, it is none other than Anthony Joshua. The British boxer was only active for six minutes and this is due to needing just two rounds to get the better of Francis Ngannou in the ring. With earnings of $75m for his efforts, this equates to an eye-watering $12.5m a minute.

Not bad work if you can get it but this per minutes earning comes with the caveat that Joshua has hardly broken a sweat in the past 12 months.


Aaron RodgersMPH Photos // Shutterstock

Aaron Rodgers - $1,196,667 Per Minute

💰 Aaron Rodgers is second in our list 💸🔝 The NFL star may have been largely inactive throughout the 2023 season, but it did not stop him earning nearly $1.2m a minute. 💲

Second in the list is a name familiar to the Gridiron and with Aaron Rodgers earning $71.8m across the duration of the previous NFL season, the hefty pay packet has only seen the star play one game in 2023. This means if we work on the basis of Rodgers playing every minute of that game, it means his $71.8m has to be split by 60.

However, that still gives Rodgers a tidy sum of earnings for 60 seconds work and therefore, the New York Jets Quarterback earned a staggering $1.1m a minute. Once again, had Rodgers been more active, that figure would have tumbled down considerably.


Canelo AlvarezImage: lev radin//shutterstock

Canelo Alvarez - $694,444 Per Minute

🥊💰💪 Third in our list is the boxing sensation known as Canelo Alvarez 👑✨Three fights went to the judges scorecard but that 108 minutes in the ring, meant the Mexican collected just short of $700,000 a minute 🤑💲

Completing our top three is none other than Canelo Alvarez and whereas Anthony Joshua had a single fight to contend with, this Mexican warrior had three. In each of the trio of fights that Alvarez contested over the past 12 months, he was taken to the judges scorecard. In each of them, the 33-year-old would come out on top.

Like Anthony Joshua, Alvarez earned $75m for his annual efforts but after needing 108 minutes to get his work done, it meant that the per minute earnings stood at $694,444. Then again, at just under $700,000 for 60 seconds in the ring, I doubt the boxing legend will have too many complaints.

Boxing/MMA

boxing/MMA

There are but three boxers on the list this year and as we have already seen, two of them occupy the positions of #1 and #3 overall. However, there is also another addition when it comes to the sweet science and with Tyson Fury finishing fourth overall, the recently dethroned heavyweight king has clocked up 66 minutes of work in the past 12 months.

66 minutes of work, worth a total of $42m and this means the man recently beaten by Oleksandr Usyk earned $636,364 per minute. With a rematch to likely follow, Fury's earnings may soon increase along with the potential return of his WBC belt.

Rank Name Sport On-The-Field Earnings Minutes played Earnings Per Minute To Earn $1m
1 Anthony Joshua Boxing $75,000,000 6 $12,500,000 5 Seconds
2 Canelo Alvarez Boxing $75,000,000 108 $694,444 1 Minutes, 27 Seconds
3 Tyson Fury Boxing $42,000,000 66 $636,364 1 minute, 35 seconds
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Football

American football

The NFL is one of the highest-paid major sports leagues in the world, but its stars actually spend a lot less time on the field than those in other sports.

The 2023 NFL season lasted for 17 games (followed by the postseason), with games lasting for just 60 minutes and with Aaron Rodgers finishing third in our overall list, it comes as no surprise that he is top when it comes to individual earnings for footballers alone.

Rodgers may be top of the pile when it comes to earnings per minute, and it must also be noted that it took him just 51 seconds to earn $1m last year. However, the player with the highest on-the-field earnings was Lamar Jackson, as the Baltimore Ravens star earned a cool $98.5m for 2023.

NFL Earnings Unveiled: Per-Minute Earnings and On-Field Performers

🏈💰💥 The NFL, a high-paying league, but with less time on the field compared to other sports! ⏰🔝 The 2023 season had 17 games, lasting just 60 minutes each. ⚡️💲 Aaron Rodgers tops footballers' individual earnings per minute. In under 60 seconds, he earned $1.1m! 🤑⏱️ However, Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens had the highest on-the-field earnings - a cool $98m for 2023. 💵🏆

Rank Name Sport On-The-Field Earnings Minutes played Earnings Per Minute To Earn $1m
1 Aaron Rodgers Football $71,800,000 60 $1,196,667 51 Seconds
2 Joe Burrow Football $96,000,000 600 $160,000 6 Minutes, 15 Seconds
3 Deshaun Watson Football $46,000,000 360 $127,778 7 minutes, 50 seconds
4 Kirk Cousins Football $60,000,000 480 $125,000 8 Minutes, 00 Seconds
5 Lamar Jackson Football $98,500,000 1080 $91,204 10 Minutes, 58 Seconds
6 Justin Herbert Football $67,700,000 780 $86,795 11 Minutes, 32 Seconds
7 Nick Bosa Football $66,500,000 1200 $55,417 18 Minutes, 03 Seconds
8 Brian Burns Football $51,500,000 960 $53,646 18 minutes, 39 seconds
9 Rashan Gary Football $46,500,000 900 $51,667 19 minutes, 22 seconds
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Soccer

Football/Soccer

While the soccer season is usually relatively long, especially if the team goes on a long cup run or does well in Europe, with the top players rarely being substituted too, these mega wages mean that the top players still take home a huge sum per minute played.

This season saw Neymar top the list in terms of earnings per minute and with the Brazilian being one of many stars to join the Saudi-led goldrush, the former PSG and Barcelona star earned $80m across the 2023/24. Then again, a serious injury meant that he only played for a total of 386 minutes. 

That injury curtailed his talents but his ability to earn money and this means the 32-year-old earned $207,254 for every 60 seconds that he was on the field of play. 

For those players who were more active, Lionel Messi's move stateside has seen him earn just shy of $60,000 for every 60 seconds in the MLS.

Just over $5,000 more than what Cristiano Ronaldo earns after his big money move to Saudi Arabia and he is now one of eight soccer stars to make the list - an increase of two from last year.

Soccer's Elite: Revealing the Highest-Paid Athletes and Earnings Per Minute

⚽💰🌍 The Soccer landscape has changed considerably since big-name players have moved to Saudi Arabia. As a consequence of his move to the Middle East, Neymar now tops the charts. ⚡️🔝

Rank Name Sport On-The-Field Earnings Minutes played Earnings Per Minute To Earn $1m
1 Neymar Soccer $80,000,000 386 $207,254 4 Minutes, 50 Seconds
2 Lionel Messi Soccer $65,000,000 1084 $59,963 16 Minutes, 41 Seconds
3 Cristiano Ronaldo Soccer $200,000,000 3690 $54,201 18 Minutes, 27 Seconds
4 Karim Benzema Soccer $100,000,000 2461 $40,634 24 Minutes, 37 Seconds
5 Kylian Mbappé Soccer $90,000,000 3779 $23,816 42 Minutes, 00 Seconds
6 Sadio Mané Soccer $48,000,000 3757 $12,776 1 hour, 18 minutes, 17 seconds
7 Erling Haaland Soccer $46,000,000 3655 $12,585 1 hour, 19 minute, 28 seconds
8 Mohamed Salah Soccer $35,000,000 3132 $11,175 1 hour, 29 minutes, 30 seconds
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Basketball

Basketball

No less than 19 NBA stars made the top 50 earners list and when we break down the earnings per minute, we can see that Joel Embiid is top of the shop with $30,636 pocketed for every 60 seconds on the court.

Embiid played 1557 minutes last season and with on-court earnings of $47.7m, that activity was enough to earn more every 60 seconds than the likes of Bradley Beal and Jimmy Butler who finished second and third in this year's list respectively. 

While Steph Curry's Golden State Warriors failed to make the playoff series, the NBA star would finish fourth in the list with earnings of $21,479 every 60 seconds.

NBA's Earnings Breakdown: Top Earners and Per-Minute Prowess!

🏀💰🔝 19 NBA stars make the top 50 earners list! ⭐️💸 When we break down earnings per minute, Joel Embiid takes the crown, pocketing $30,636 for every 60 seconds on the court. ⏰💲 With 1557 minutes played last season, Wall's earnings outshine his counterparts. ⚡️🤩 Comparatively, Bradley Beal and Jimmy Butler would both earn just under $25k a minute for their own efforts. 🔄🔥

Rank Name Sport On-The-Field Earnings Minutes played Earnings Per Minute To Earn $1m
1 Joel Embiid Basketball $47,700,000 1557 $30,636 32 minutes, 39 seconds
2 Bradley Beal Basketball $46,800,000 1921 $24,362 41 minutes, 03 seconds
3 Jimmy Butler Basketball $45,500,000 2042 $22,282 44 minutes, 53 seconds
4 Stephen Curry Basketball $52,000,000 2421 $21,479 46 Minutes, 34 Seconds
5 Trae Young Basketball $40,300,000 1942 $20,752 48 minutes, 12 seconds
6 Kawhi Leonard Basketball $45,700,000 2389 $19,129 52 minutes, 17 seconds
7 Giannis Antetokounmpo Basketball $46,000,000 2567 $17,920 55 Minutes, 49 Seconds
8 LeBron James Basketball $48,200,000 2708 $17,799 56 Minutes, 11 Seconds
9 Damian Lillard Basketball $45,900,000 2735 $16,782 59 Minutes, 36 Seconds
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Summary by Sport

So, how do the earnings per minute break down across the different sports? As you can see, those in boxing bring home by far the most for every minute of competitive action ($1,066,667) and far more than any of the other highest-earning sports.

At the other end of the spectrum, baseball players made the least per minute with the pair of Max Scherzer and Shohei Ohtani combining to earn an average of $2,888. When compared to the NBA, basketball starts made as much as eight times more when looking at the highest earners per minute. 

In terms of the two types of football, american football players made an average of $81,293 and soccer player made just $30,259 by comparison.

Also an honourable mention must go to the F1 pair of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who between them earned an average of $25,189 per minute,

💰⏰✨ Earnings per minute across sports breakdown! Boxing leads the way with a whopping $1,066,667 per minute, leaving other sports behind. ⚡️🥊🔝 Soccer players made $30,259 now ahead of basketball players at $16,945, while football players earned an average of $81,293 per minute. ⚽🏀🏈💸

Rank Sport On-The-Field Earnings Minutes played Earnings Per Minute
1 Boxing $192,000,000 180 $1,066,667
2 Football $717,000,000 8820 $81,293
3 Soccer $664,000,000 21944 $30,259
4 Auto Racing $133,000,000 5280 $25,189
5 Basketball $823,300,000 48587 $16,945
6 Baseball $84,200,000 29160 $2,888
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Significant Changes in 2024

💰📈 Biggest increase in earnings

The biggest increase in earnings was recorded by Cristiano Ronaldo. When looking at the previous measure of earnings per minute, the Portuguese icon was earning $46m a year, now that he has left European soccer behind and moved to Saudi Arabia, that figure has skyrocketed to $200m.

💰📉 Biggest decrease in earnings 

While the biggest decrease in earnings is recorded by Canelo Alvarez. Then again, we should not feel to sorry for the Mexican boxing legend. What was annual earnings of $100m, is now just a paltry $75m by comparison.

⏱️📉 Biggest decrease in time taken to earn $1 million

In terms of who has taken the quickest time to earn a million compared to the previous report, this award goes to Neymar. Whereas it used to take the Brazilian soccer star 2,835 seconds to reach this benchmark, it now took him just 290 - 4 minutes and 50 seconds to be precise.

⏱️📈 Biggest increase in time taken to earn $1 million

Not good reading if you are Kevin Durant, the NBA star used to scoop up $1m in earnings in just 2,855 seconds. However, that figure has not increased to 3,715 seconds in our latest findings. This means it takes him 61 minutes and 55 seconds to earn such a figure.

💰⏰📈 Biggest increase in earnings per minute

The biggest change in earnings per minute comes courtesy of Anthony Joshua. Last year the heavyweight boxer was earning $694,444 for every 60 seconds in the ring. That figure now stands at an eye-watering $12.5m - an increase of $11,805,556.

💰⏰📉 Biggest decrease in earnings per minute 

This unwanted honour goes to Canelo Alvarez. In our last report, he was earning $1.38m for every 60 seconds in the ring. That figure has been chopped in half to $694,444 but the Mexican will still be smiling after earning such a handsome figure when compared to many other sporting stars. 

changing in earnings 2024


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Methodology

We took the on-field earnings of the 50 highest-earning athletes in the world according to Forbes’ 2024 list of Highest-Paid Athletes, choosing to focus just on those athletes from the worlds of American football, basketball, association football and boxing.

We then sourced the number of minutes played by each athlete in the last completed season (or between the dates of May 1st, 2023, and May 31st 2024 for boxing) using the following sources:

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/

https://www.basketball-reference.com/

https://www.baseball-reference.com/

https://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/

https://boxrec.com/en/

Note that for American Football players, statistics for minutes played were unavailable, so we took the number of games played and multiplied them by 60 (the standard number of minutes for an NFL match).

For Baseball players, statistics for minutes played were unavailable, so we took the number of games played and multiplied them by 180 (the standard number of minutes for an MLB match).

For Auto Racing, statistics for minutes played were unavailable, so we took the number of races driven in 2023 and multiplied them by 120 (the standard number of minutes for a F1 Race).

We included all league fixtures as well as postseason games for American Football and basketball, as well as cup games for association football players.

Our figures only account for playtime and do not consider the time spent training but demonstrate how much is earned by each sports star during a game or match.

We have put together many similar studies, please take a look around the site and if you are in the US and interested in the growing sports betting market, please take a look at our latest list of available legal sportsbooks.

Editorial Information

This article was researched and written by our Data Scientist Dan Tracey who searched the data and presented it by sport and as a comparison round-up, splitting it down by minute to cover some interesting earning angles.

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