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ESPN Top Salaries in Sports 2011

Here is a list of the highest salaries in 41 sports according to ESPN The Magazine. For 2011, baseball and boxing shared the title of paying out the highest individual salary with $32 million each. Women's bowling was the lowest, paying $40,300 to their top earner. See also the ESPN list of the top salaries from each country in 2011.

This list only includes the highest paid athlete in each sport based on the official base salary or earnings from the most recently completed season or calendar year, but does not include endorsements, appearance fees, sponsorship money and other sources of extra income. Only sports are listed in which the official salary data was available. For lists which include all income sources, see the Forbes and Sports Illustrated Top paid Athletes lists.

rank Sport Salary
(in USD)
Athlete League/Tour Notes
=1 Baseball $32,000,000 Alex Rodriguez MLB 2011 Salary
=1 Boxing $32,000,000 Manny Pacquiao N/A selection only based on Nth. American purse fights. This figure is for Manny's 2010 Estimated Purse (two fights)
3 Auto Racing $26,333,333 Kimi Raikkonen World Rally Championship 2010 Race Winnings (plus $12.7M from severed F1 contract)
4 Basketball $24,800,000 Kobe Bryant NBA 2010-11 Salary
5 Soccer $19,500,000 Cristiano Ronaldo La Liga 2010-11 Salary
6 Horse Racing (Jockey) $17,411,880 Ramon A. Dominguez N/A 2010 Earnings (not individual share)
7 Football $15,800,000 Peyton Manning NFL 2010 Salary
8 Tennis (Men) $10,171,998 Rafael Nadal ATP 2010 Prize Money
=9 Hockey (Tie) $10,000,000 Vincent Lecavalier NHL 2010-11 Salary
=9 $10,000,000 Roberto Luongo NHL 2010-11 Salary
11 Poker $9,443,519 Jonathan Duhamel Various Land-Based Tournament Winnings, April 4, 2010- April 3, 2011
12 Golf (Men) $5,867,601 Luke Donald European Tour PGA 2010 Tournament Winnings
13 MMA $5,300,000 Brock Lesnar UFC Estimated Prize Money, ppv share
14 Tennis (Women) $5,035,060 Kim Clijsters WTA 2010 Prize Money
15 Golf (Women) $1,871,165 Na Yeon Choi LPGA 2010 Tournament Winnings
16 Bull Riding $1,594,527 Renato Nunes Professional Bull Riders 2010 Prize Money
17 Drag Racing $1,371,000 Larry Dixon NHRA Top Fuel 2010 Prize Money
18 Equestrian (Men) $1,280,788 McLain Ward Show Jumping 2010 Earnings
19 Darts $1,044,000 Phil Taylor Professional Darts Corporation 2010 Prize Money
20 Fishing $915,500 Kevin Vandam Bassmaster Elite Series 2010 Earnings
21 Distance Running (Women) $695,000 Liliya Shobukhova Various 2010 Prize Money
22 Equestrian (Women) $627,907 Laura Kraut Show Jumping 2010 Earnings
23 Distance Running (Men) $617,000 Samuel Wanjiru Various 2010 Prize Money
24 Surfing (Men) $516,000 Kelly Slater ASP World Tour 2010 Prize Money
25 Skiing (Women) $509,542 Lindsey Vonn FIS World Cup Alpine skiing events 2010-11 Prize Money
26 Rodeo $507,920 Trevor Brazile Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association 2010 Earnings
27 Skiing (Men) $464,440 Ivica Kostelic FIS World Cup Alpine skiing events 2010-11 Prize Money
28 Sumo $400,000 Hakuho Japan Sumo Association 2010 Salary
29 Beach Volleyball (Men) $387,700 Philip Dalhausser/Todd Rogers FIVB 2010 Prize Money
30 Beach Volleyball (Women) $351,300 Larissa Franca/Juliana Felisberta Da Silva FIVB 2010 Prize Money
31 Racquetball $300,000 Kane Waselenchuk International Racquetball Tour IRT 2010 Event, Appearance Fees, Earnings, Sponsorships
32 Triathlon (Women) $239,800 Emma Snowsill International Triathlon Union 2010 Prize Money
33 Triathlon (Men) $223,600 Tim Don International Triathlon Union 2010 Prize Money
34 Eating $218,500 Joey Chestnut Major League Eating 2010 Earnings
35 Squash $166,926 Nick Matthew Professional Squash Association 2010 Prize Money
36 Bowling (Men) $152,670 Walter Ray Williams Jr. PBA 2009-10 Prize Money
37 Surfing (Women) $140,700 Stephanie Gilmore ASP World Tour 2010 Prize Money
38 Billiards (Men) $118,494 Darren Appleton N/A 2010 Prize Money
39 Billiards (Women) $67,930 Ga-Young Kim N/A 2010 Prize Money
40 Sled Dog $50,400 John Baker Iditarod 2011 First-Place Racing Prize Money
41 Bowling (Women) $40,300 Shannon Pluhowsky PBA 2009-10 Prize Money

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