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Highest-Paid Athletes in the World: Full List of the Highest-Earning Athletes

Highest-Paid Athletes of all Times

In professional sports, athletes aim not only for championships but also for high-paying contracts that match their skills, hard work, and team impact.

As of 2024, the top-earning athletes in the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL are breaking financial records and showing just how valuable top talent can be in their sports.

Key Takeaways
  • Joe Burrow is the highest-paid NFL player, earning $55 million annually with the Cincinnati Bengals.
  • Shohei Ohtani leads MLB with a record $700 million contract, averaging $70 million annually with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Stephen Curry is the top earner in the NBA, with a $215 million extension that pays $53.75 million per year with the Golden State Warriors.

Joe Burrow: NFL’s Highest-Paid Player

As of 2024, Joe Burrow, the quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, is the highest-paid NFL athlete. Burrow signed a five-year contract extension worth $275 million, with an average annual salary of $55 million, making him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

This deal was made just before the 2023 season started, keeping Burrow with the Bengals until 2030. His big contract shows how valuable top quarterbacks are in the league.

Burrow’s performance, including leading the Bengals to the Super Bowl in the 2021 season, has proven he is worth the investment​​.

Shohei Ohtani: MLB’s Highest-Paid Player

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers is the highest-paid athlete in Major League Baseball.

Ohtani signed a groundbreaking 10-year, $700 million contract, averaging $70 million annually, the largest in North American sports history.

This contract reflects Ohtani’s exceptional dual-threat ability as a pitcher and a hitter. Since his MLB debut in 2018, Ohtani has won multiple awards, including the American League Rookie of the Year and two MVP awards.

His rare skills and consistent performance made him extremely valuable, leading to this record-breaking contract.

Stephen Curry: NBA’s Highest-Paid Player

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors is the highest-paid athlete in the NBA for 2024.

Curry, a transformative player in the league, signed a four-year, $215 million extension, which pays him an average annual salary of $53.75 million.

This extension ensures Curry’s presence with the Warriors, a team he has led to multiple championships, until the 2026-2027 season.

Curry’s contract reflects his huge value to the team on and off the court, especially due to his role in changing the game with his incredible three-point shooting​.

Nathan MacKinnon: NHL’s Highest-Paid Player

Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche is the highest-paid player in the NHL. He signed an eight-year contract worth $100.8 million, averaging $12.6 million annually.

This contract highlights his status as one of the top forwards in the league, known for his scoring ability and leadership.

MacKinnon has been a key player for the Avalanche, contributing significantly to their successes, including a Stanley Cup win in 2022. His new contract shows his importance to the team’s future ambitions​.

op-Earning Athletes Setting New Standards in Sports

These athletes represent the peak of earning potential in their respective sports, with contracts that reflect their exceptional talent and value to their teams.

Joe Burrow, Shohei Ohtani, Stephen Curry, and Nathan MacKinnon earn the most money and set new standards for their importance in professional sports.

Their contracts prove their skills, performance, and key roles in their teams’ success.