Where do the World's Highest Paid Athletes Come From?

Here is an analysis of the Annual Forbes list of the highest-paid athletes in the world. Total earnings are calculated based on money derived from salaries, bonuses, prize money, endorsements and licensing income.

USA has the Highest Paid Athletes

We have analyzed the top 10 paid athletes lists based on the nationalities of the athletes. All data from the first list of 1990 up until and including 2010 has been used in these calculations.

The USA have dominated the top paid athletes lists, with 42 athletes of the 60 that have made the list so far coming from the USA. We have also analyzed the position on the list by combining all the lists by giving 10 votes for being on the top of a list, and one less for each rank below that (e.g. 1 vote for being 10th on the list). If two or more athletes were known to tie for a position, the points were shared equally. These points were used to rank the countries that had equal number of appearances on the top 10 lists.

rank country
number of athletes total points
1 USA 42 826
2 Canada 4 14
3 Brazil 3 33.5
4 UK 2 42.5
5 Germany 1 97
6 Finland 1 21
7 France 1 18
=8 Russia 1 8
=8 Italy 1 8
10 Philippines 1 7
11 Switzerland 1 6.5
12 Austria 1 5.5
13 Australia 1 4


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Lists Extra

Football/Soccer is clearly the world's most popular sport, and has the most popular athletes, but which sport has the fittest players (but not necessarily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most. The best of the best have made it to our 7 Sporting Wonders Lists.

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