Which Sports Stars Earn the Most per Minute

Updated: 6582 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
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 Canelo Alvarez Boxing $100,000,000 72 $1,388,889 44 seconds
2 Anthony Joshua Boxing $50,000,000 72 $694,444 1 Minute, 27 Seconds
3 Deshaun Watson Football $45,300,000 360 $125,833 7 Minutes, 57 Seconds
4 Kyler Murray Football $67,000,000 660 $101,515 9 Minutes, 52 Seconds
5 Russell Wilson Football $72,000,000 900 $80,000 12 Minutes, 30 Seconds
6 Aaron Donald Football $46,500,000 660 $70,455 14 Minutes, 12 Seconds
7 John Wall Basketball $47,300,000 753 $62,815 15 Minutes, 56 Seconds
8 Derek Carr Football $45,900,000 900 $51,000 19 Minutes, 37 Seconds
9 Aaron Rodgers Football $42,000,000 1020 $41,176 24 Minutes, 18 Seconds
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Canelo Alvarez - $1,388,889 Per Minute

🥊💰💪 The king of the ring and our earnings list? It's none other than Canelo Alvarez! 👑✨🇲🇽 With just 3 fights and a flawless record, the boxing star earned $100M in the past year. 🤑💲 In just 72 minutes of work in the ring, that's a jaw-dropping $1,388,889 per minute! ⏰🔥

The king of the ring and also the king of our earnings list, it is none other than Canelo Alvarez. The Mexican boxing star may have only fought three fights, but he won each of the trio and as always the 33-year-old is worth every cent of his earnings.

Earnings that saw the multi-weight world champion earn $100m in the past year. Add that to just 72 minutes’ worth of work in the ring and the man with a fight record of 59-2-2 earned no less than $1,388,889 per minute of time spent in the ring.

Anthony Joshua - $694,444 Per Minute

🥊💰💥 Anthony Joshua takes the second spot on our earnings list! 💸🔝 While he may no longer hold the heavyweight title, he earned enough to soften the blow. 💪🌍 The former Olympic gold medallist had 2 fights, winning one and falling short in another. In just 72 minutes, he made $694,444 per minute! 💥💲👑

While it is another boxer who secures second spot in our earnings list. Anthony Joshua may no longer be the heavyweight champion of the world, but he has certainly earned enough in the past year to soften the blow.

The former Olympic gold medallist had two fights between May 2022 and May 2023. Winning against Jermaine Franklin but falling short against Oleksandr Usyk in a bid to regain his collection of title belts. 72 minutes of work, each of those was worth $694,444.

Deshaun Watson - $125,833 Per Minute

🏈💰🕒 Deshaun Watson secures the third spot! 💸🔝 Despite a period of inactivity, his earnings per minute are impressive. 💥💲 With only 6 NFL appearances in the 2023 season, he earned $45.3m, making it $125,833 per minute. 😮⏰

Completing our top three is none other than Deshaun Watson and although he earned $45.3m when it comes to on-field activities, his earnings per minute are enhanced by a period of relative inactivity compared to his peers.

With just six NFL appearances in the 2023 season, a maximum of 360 minutes would be earned on the gridiron. Were Watson to have played more often, his third position in our rankings would be under serious threat.

Boxing/MMA

boxing/MMA

There are but two boxers on the list this year and as we have already seen, they occupy the positions of #1 and #2 with Alvarez and Joshua fighting for 72 minutes and picking up some cool cash in the meantime for less than an hours work on the night.

Rank Name Sport On-The-Field Earnings Minutes played Earnings Per Minute To Earn $1m
1 Canelo Alvarez Boxing $100,000,000 72 $1,388,889 44 seconds
2 Anthony Joshua Boxing $50,000,000 72 $694,444 1 Minute, 27 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 2022 NFL season lasted for 17 games (followed by the postseason), with games lasting for just 60 minutes and with Deshaun Watson finishing third in our overall list, it comes as no surprise that he is top when it comes to individual earnings for footballers alone.

Watson may be top of the pile when it comes to earnings per minute, and it must also be noted that it took him just under eight minutes to earn $1m last year. However, the player with the highest on-the-field earnings was Russell Wilson, as the Denver Broncos star earned a cool $72m for 2022.

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 2022 season had 17 games, lasting just 60 minutes each. ⚡️💲 Deshaun Watson tops footballers' individual earnings per minute. In under 8 minutes, he earned $1m! 🤑⏱️ However, Russell Wilson of the Denver Broncos had the highest on-the-field earnings - a cool $72m for 2022. 💵🏆

Rank Name Sport On-The-Field Earnings Minutes played Earnings Per Minute To Earn $1m
1 Deshaun Watson Football $45,300,000 360 $125,833 7 Minutes, 57 Seconds
2 Kyler Murray Football $67,000,000 660 $101,515 9 Minutes, 52 Seconds
3 Russell Wilson Football $72,000,000 900 $80,000 12 Minutes, 30 Seconds
4 Aaron Donald Football $46,500,000 660 $70,455 14 Minutes, 12 Seconds
5 Derek Carr Football $45,900,000 900 $51,000 19 Minutes, 37 Seconds
6 Aaron Rodgers Football $42,000,000 1020 $41,176 24 Minutes, 18 Seconds
7 Orlando Brown Jr Football $48,500,000 1200 $40,417 24 Minutes, 45 Seconds
8 Dak Prescott Football $31,000,000 840 $36,905 27 Miniutes, 6 Seconds
9 Patrick Mahomes Football $39,300,000 1200 $32,750 30 Minutes, 33 Seconds
10 Tom Brady Football $1,200,000 1080 $1,111 15 hours
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Soccer

Football/Soccer

Soccer is home to three of the top five highest-paid athletes in the world, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi, as the two former PSG teammates were ranked second and fifth respectively in the overall on-the-field earnings list. 

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.

Last year, five football players were included in the top 50, however this year it has increased to six, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah being added to the list.

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

⚽💰🌍 Soccer dominates with 3⃣ of the top 5 highest-paid athletes! Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi, former PSG teammates, ranked 2nd and 5th in overall on-the-field earnings. ⚡️🔝

Rank Name Sport On-The-Field Earnings Minutes played Earnings Per Minute To Earn $1m
1 Kylian Mbappe Soccer $100,000,000 3564 $28,058 35 Minutes, 39 Seconds
2 Neymar Soccer $50,000,000 2362 $21,169 47 Minutes. 15 Seconds
3 Lionel Messi Soccer $65,000,000 3637 $17,872 55 Minutes, 58 Seconds
4 Cristiano Ronaldo Soccer $46,000,000 2752 $16,715 59 Minutes, 50 Seconds
5 Erling Haaland Soccer $40,000,000 4131 $9,683 1 hour, 43 minutes, 17 seconds
6 Mohamed Salah Soccer $35,000,000 4301 $8,138 2 hours, 2 minutes, 54 seconds
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It is Kylian Mbappe who comes out on top when it comes to earnings per minute, earning just over $28k each 60 seconds. PSG teammate Neymar is in second with $21,169 for his efforts and Inter Miami’s new signing Lionel Messi rounds out the top three with his previous earnings in Paris.

Basketball

Basketball

No less than 15 NBA stars made the top 50 earners list and when we break down the earnings per minute, we can see that John Wall is top of the shop with $62,815 pocketed for every 60 seconds on the court.

Wall played just 753 minutes last season, and this will go some way to explaining the gap between himself and his 14 counterparts. If were to compare his earnings to Jimmy Butler, who played four times as many minutes, then the Miami Heat man would only earn $12,221 by comparison.

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

🏀💰🔝 15 NBA stars make the top 50 earners list! ⭐️💸 When we break down earnings per minute, John Wall takes the crown, pocketing $62,815 for every 60 seconds on the court. ⏰💲 With just 753 minutes played last season, Wall's earnings outshine his counterparts. ⚡️🤩 Comparatively, Jimmy Butler, who played 4x as many minutes, would earn just $12,221. 🔄🔥

Rank Name Sport On-The-Field Earnings Minutes played Earnings Per Minute To Earn $1m
1 John Wall Basketball $47,300,000 753 $62,815 15 Minutes, 56 Seconds
2 Bradley Beal Basketball $43,300,000 1679 $25,789 38 Minutes, 47 Seconds
3 Kawhi Leonard Basketball $42,500,000 1828 $23,249 43 Minutes, 1 Second
4 Paul George Basketball $42,500,000 1945 $21,851 45 Minutes, 46 Seconds
5 Kevin Durant Basketball $44,100,000 2098 $21,020 47 Minutes, 35 Seconds
6 Russell Westbrook Basketball $47,100,000 2321 $20,293 49 Minutes. 17 Seconds
7 Damian Lillard Basketball $42,600,000 2114 $20,151 49 Minutes, 38 Seconds
8 Giannis Antetokounmpo Basketball $42,600,000 2117 $20,123 49 Minutes, 42 Seconds
9 Stephen Curry Basketball $48,400,000 2436 $19,869 50 Minutes, 20 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 ($1,041,667) and far more than any of the other highest-earning sports.

At the other end of the spectrum, soccer players made the least per minute, with $16,195, slightly behind basketball players at $19,018 as football players collectively earned an average of $49,739 per minute.

💰⏰✨ Earnings per minute across sports breakdown! Boxing leads the way with a whopping $1,041,667 per minute, leaving other sports behind. ⚡️🥊🔝 Soccer players made the least per minute at $16,195, just behind basketball players at $19,018, while football players earned an average of $49,739 per minute. ⚽🏀🏈💸

Rank Sport On-The-Field Earnings Minutes played Earnings Per Minute
1 Boxing $150,000,000 144 $1,041,667
2 Football $438,700,000 8820 $49,739
3 Basketball $631,900,000 33226 $19,018
4 Soccer $336,000,000 20747 $16,195
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Significant Changes in 2022

💰📈 Biggest increase in earnings

The biggest increase in earnings was recorded by Kylian Mbappe, as the PSG star accelerated his on-the-field inducements from $28m to $100m in the space of the year. An increase of $72m in the space of 12 months and with talk of his PSG departure looming larger, will we see even more in earnings come 2024? 

💰📉 Biggest decrease in earnings 

While the biggest decrease in earnings is recorded by Tom Brady. The NFL legend may have only earned $1.2m when it comes to playing activity, but we should not feel all that sorry, as this was topped up by $44m worth of earnings elsewhere. 

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

It is Kylian Mbappe who is celebrating, as it takes him far less to earn than $1m then it did 12 months ago. Whereas the 2018 World Cup winner previously needed 8383 seconds to reach this threshold, it now takes him just 2139 – a saving of 6244.

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

Not good reading if you are Tom Brady, as he needs far more time in order to earn $1m. Considering his on-field earnings were only $1.2m and he played for just 18 hours in the previous NFL season, it would take 15 of those to reach this financial landmark. 

💰⏰📈 Biggest increase in earnings per minute

The biggest change in earnings per minute comes courtesy of Russell Wilson. Last year the NFL player was earning $28,571 per 60 seconds of NFL action. That figure has since increased to $80,000 in the 12 months that followed. 

💰⏰📉 Biggest decrease in earnings per minute 

Once again it is Tom Brady who has to deal with a big decrease. Whereas Terrific Tom was earning $27,892 every 60 NFL seconds, that figure has shrunk to just $1,111. Not a lot for one of the game’s best ever, but still a considerable amount for those of you reading this article. 

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Methodology

We took the on-field earnings of the 50 highest-earning athletes in the world according to Forbes’ 2022 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 2021-22 season (or between the dates of May 1st, 2022, and 2023 for boxing) using the following sources:

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

https://www.proballers.com/ - new source for basketball

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).

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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