Why aren't all athletes paid the same?

Why aren’t all athletes paid the same?

November 5, 2020

Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on sports entertainment a year. Athletes at the forefront of this, are considered to be some of the highest paid people in the world, however some are paid much more than others, but why, don’t they all do similar things?

Forbes, “The World’s Highest Paid Athletes List” ranks athletes based on their income, the top ten athletes consist of players of tennis, soccer, golf, basketball and football. The most well paid athlete is Roger Federer, a tennis player, who earns approximately 106.3 million a year. Then follows people like Christiano Ronaldo, Lebron James etc. The amount of money earned by these players is insane, however what makes these people or these sports more deserving?

Most mainstream sports are basketball, baseball, hockey and football, although golf and tennis are worth mentioning, they don’t quite stack up to these mega rating sports. A lot of things come in factor when discussing reasoning to this. One thing being, the simple revenue of the multious leagues, most of the time, leagues like the NBA make quite a lot of money advertisements and sponsorships and when watching the games, they make those donations very well known. This however, is not the case for most leagues.

The thing that drives these sports, the audience, also contributes a big factor, for example sports like soccer or tennis usually take in more revenue because of the global reach it has, many different countries participate in them. Hockey is not like that because although it is played across North America, Canadians definitely rack up the ratings during game time, the same goes for football, but with Americans.

That explains about the leagues, but what singles these individual athletes out? Although their salary or winnings are very high, most of their money comes from their personal sponsorships or endorsements. Roger Federer earns 100 million of his 106.3 million from endorsements. He pairs with companies like Wilson, Mercedes Benz and previously Nike. People like Lebron James take things to the next level by creating things like shoes or apparel lines with the companies, one of the most famous shoes “Jordans” were created in this manner. 

Copious amounts of money are fed into the sports industry and benefit athletes like these. The athletes who make the most money are definitely the most mainstream or popular person from their sport, because the audience wants to support them, so they help pay them and companies realize the reach they have and also invest to promote their own brand, the athletes on the list aren’t just athletes they are influencers, icons and hero’s to some. The more news-worthy someone is or the sport is, the more revenue it is going to make.

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