It may surprised you to learn that the highest paid athlete in the world in 2011 was boxer Manny Pacquiao who took in an astounding $50 million.
Well, then a baseball or football player must be at number two on the list, right? Nope.
The second-highest earner in 2011 was Formula One racer Fernando Alonso, who took in $40 million.
The top baseball player last year was Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees who made $30 million.
In the NBA, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers made $25,244,000 while Brad Richards of the NHL’s New York Rangers made $12 million.
When looking for a professional sport in which even you can excel, don’t overlook darts, where Phil Taylor made $938,497 last year. How about Major League Eating‘s Joey Chestnut, who made $205,000 scarfing down food last year?
There’s always professional bull rider Silvano Alves, who earned $1,461,964 in 2011.
Here’s the full list.
Highest-Paid Athletes of 2011
|Sport or competition||Athlete||League, competition||Earnings|
|Alpine Skiing (women)||Lindsey Vonn||FIS World Cup Skiing, 2011 prize money||$612,417|
|Alpine Skiing (men)||Marcel Hirscher||FIS World Cup Skiing, 2011 prize money||$510,192|
|Auto racing||Fernando Alonso||Formula 1, Ferrari, 2011 salary and prize money||$40,000,000|
|Badminton (women)||Wang Yihan||BWF Superseries, Grand Prix Gold and Continental Championships, 2011 prize money||$277,550|
|Badminton (men)||Lee Chong Wei||BWF Superseries, Grand Prix Gold and Continental Championships, 2011 prize money||$267,350|
|Baseball||Alex Rodriguez||MLB, NY Yankees, 2012 total salary||$30,000,000|
|Basketball||Kobe Bryant||NBA, LA Lakers, 2011-12 total salary||$25,244,000|
|Beach volleyball (women)||Larissa Franca/Juliana Felisberta da Silva||FIVB Swatch World Tour, 2011 prize money||$326,700|
|Beach volleyball (men)||Emanuel Rego/Alison Cerutti||FIVB Swatch World Tour, 2011 prize money||$306,700|
|Billiards||Shane Van Boening||Billiards, 2011 prize money||$160,450|
|Bowling||Sean Rash||PBA Tour, 2011-12 prize money||$140,250|
|Boxing||Manny Pacquiao||guaranteed minimum for two 2011 WBO title bouts||$50,000,000|
|Bull Riding||Silvano Alves||Professional Bull Riders, 2011 PBR prize money||$1,461,964|
|Darts||Phil Taylor||Pro Darts Corp. 2011 tournament prize money||$938,497|
|Distance running (men)||Emmanuel Mutai||Distance running (2011 prize money)||$815,000|
|Distance running (women)||Liliya Shobukhova||Distance running (2011 prize moneys)*||$720,000|
|Drag racing||Del Worsham||NHRA Top Fuel, 2011 prize money||$1,193,000|
|Eating||Joey Chestnut||Major League Eating, 2011 prize money||$205,000|
|Equestrian||Rolf-Göran Bengtsson||Show Jumping, 2011 prize money||$1,161,280|
|Fishing||Kevin VanDam||Bassmaster Elite Series, 2011 prize money||$706,500|
|Football||Charles Johnson||NFL, Carolina Panthers, 2011 total salary||$34,000,000|
|Golf (men)||Luke Donald||European, PGA Tours, combined 2011 prize money||$9,509,604|
|Golf (women)||Yani Tseng||LPGA Tour, 2011 prize money||$2,921,713|
|Hockey||Brad Richards||NHL, NY Rangers, 2011-12 salary||$12,000,000|
|Horse Racing (jockey)||Ramon A. Dominguez||Horse Racing, 2011**||$20,567,032|
|Poker||Pius Heinz||Poker winnings, 4/9/11 thru 4/8/12||$8,876,067|
|Racquetball||Kane Waselenchuk||International Racquetball Tour, 2011 IRT-Tour earnings||$270,000|
|Rodeo||Trevor Brazile||Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assn, PRCA 2011 overall earnings||$365,293|
|Rugby Union||Sebastien Chabal||LNR, French National Rugby, Racing Metro 92, 2011 salary||$1,318,195|
|Sled dog racing||Dallas Seavey||Iditarod, 2012 first place prize money***||$50,400|
|Soccer||Wayne Rooney||EPL, Manchester United, 2011-12 salary||$20,821,300|
|Squash||Nick Matthew||PSA World Tour, 2011 prize money||$129,592|
|Sumo wrestling||Hakuho||Japan Sumo Association, 2011 base salary, prize money||$1,100,000|
|Surfing (men)||Kelly Slater||ASP World Tour, 2011 prize money||$556,250|
|Surfing (women)||Carissa Moore||ASP World Tour, 2011 prize money||$114,900|
|Tennis (men)||Novak Djokovic||ATP Tour, 2011 prize money||$12,619,803|
|Tennis (women)||Petra Kvitova||WTA Tour, 2011 prize money||$5,145,943|
|Triathlon (men)||Alistair Brownlee||International Triathlon Union, 2011 prize money from ITU events||$162,892|
|Triathlon (women)||Helen Jenkins||International Triathlon Union, 2011 prize money from ITU events||$151,050|
* Distance running data courtesy of Association of Road Running Statisticians
** Total earnings, not individual share, among North American leaders, and includes Dubai World Cup earnings.
*** Seavey selected a black, 2012 Dodge Ram 2500 Crew Cab as part of the 1st place prize
- Highest Paid Athletes by Salary (celebritynetworth.com)
- Charles Johnson’s Mega Contract Highlights Ridiculous Nature of NFL Salaries (bleacherreport.com)
- The 5 Highest-Paid Athletes Of All Time (celebritynetworth.com)