Earnings
per Minute

Which sporting superstars earn the most per minute they spend in action?

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 are working the hardest to bring home the bacon?

We’ve studied the earnings of the highest-paid athletes of the past twelve months and compared this with how many minutes they spent on the field or court, or in the ring, to find out who makes the most for every minute of competitive action.

Earnings per Minute by Athlete

Filter by sport: All MMA Boxing American Football Basketball Association Football

Rank

Athlete

Sport

On-the-field
earnings

Minutes
Played

Earnings
per Minute

Time to
earn $1m

Summary by Sport

So, how do the earnings per minute break down across the different sports? As you can see, those in boxing & MMA bring home by far the most for every minute of competitive action ($724,540) and far more than any of the other highest-earning sports.

At the other end of the spectrum, association football players made the least per minute, with $14,040, slightly behind basketball players at $14,344.

Rank

Sport

On-the-field earnings

Minutes Played

Earnings per Minute

Methodology

We took the on-field earnings of the 100 highest-earning athletes in the world according to Forbes’ 2021 list of Highest-Paid Athletes, choosing to focus just on those athletes from the worlds of American football, basketball, association football, boxing, and MMA.

We then sourced the number of minutes played by each athlete in the 2020-21 season (or between the dates of May 1st, 2020, and 2021 for boxing and MMA) using the following sources:

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

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

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

https://boxrec.com/en/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFC_257

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 boxers, we took the number of rounds that they had fought in during their matches and multiplied this by three (the number of minutes in a round).

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

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

Note that we excluded Klay Thompson, who earned $28.5m but spent the entirety of the 2020-21 season out injured.

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