With the ink still drying on his US$503 million deal, Patrick Mahome II now holds the most expensive sporting contract in history. Naturally, the news of the Kansas City quarterback’s twelve-year agreement stoked our curiosity about what other most expensive sports contracts were out there.
Before we proceed, a few details need to be addressed…
- Numbers are not indicative of endorsement deals or any other supplementary forms of income which often contribute to total career earnings (e.g. Roger Federer’s 2019 winnings amounted to US$6.3 million vs. 2019 endorsements which amounted to over US$100 million).
- Athletes of individual sports may have been excluded due to the fact that prize money, promotional deals, and so forth are not always guaranteed within a contract (e.g. Floyd Mayweather’s six-fight pact with Showtime guaranteed approximately US$200 million; a pay-per-view side deal earned him an additional US$250 million – also note the use of “pact” and not “contract”).
- Numbers are based purely on what is public knowledge, therefore undisclosed salary contracts/backdoor deals associated with some high-profile athletes have also been excluded (e.g. Cristiano Ronaldo’s four-year contract with Juventus is reported to be worth at least US$340 million, which includes a transfer fee and an estimated annual salary of US$64 million – but his contract has never been explicitly cited or confirmed).
Now… where were we?
From the top 100 selection of most expensive sports contracts, a staggering 55 entrants came from Major League Baseball, 29 from the NBA, and 12 from the NFL. The rest are from a mix of boxing, Formula 1, and soccer. Clearly, the US of A is where it’s at.
Interestingly enough, the majority of these contracts were active in the last decade/valid until well into the next. And by the latter I mean 2025 and beyond, approaching 2030 and even 2031. Which raises the question – given the current upward trend, how long before a billion-dollar contract comes along?
#1. Patrick Mahomes II, NFL (Kansas City Chiefs) – US$503,000,000
Per year: US$41,916,666.70
Per game: US$2,619,791.67
Active dates: 2020-2031
#2. Mike Trout, MLB (Los Angeles Angels) – US$426,500,000
Per year: US$35,541,667
Per game: US$219,393
Active dates: 2019-2030
#3. Canelo Alvarez, Boxing (DAZN) – US$365,000,000
Per year: US$73,000,000
Per fight: US$33,181,818.18
Active dates: 2018-2023
#4. Bryce Harper, MLB (Philadelphia Phillies) – US$330,000,000
Per year: US$25,384,615
Per game: US$156,695.16
Active dates: 2019-2031
#5. Giancarlo Stanton, MLB (Miami Marlins) – US$$325,000,000
Per year: US$25,000,000
Per game: US$154,320.99
Active dates: 2015-2027 [Traded to New York Yankees in 2017]
#6. Gerrit Cole, MLB (New York Yankees) – US$324,000,000
Per year: US$36,000,000
Per game: US$222,222.22
Active dates: 2020-2028
#7. Manny Machado, MLB (San Diego Padres) – US$300,000,000
Per year: US$30,000,000
Per game: US$185,185.19
Active dates: 2019-2028
#8. Alex Rodriguez, MLB (New York Yankees) – US$275,000,000
Per year: US$27,500,000
Per game: US$169,753.09
Active dates: 2008-2017
#9. Nolan Arenado, MLB (Colorado Rockies) – US$260,000,000
Per year: US$32,500,000
Per game: US$200,617.28
Active dates: 2019-2026
#10. Alex Rodriguez, MLB (Texas Rangers) – US$252,000,000
Per year: US$25,200,000
Per game: US$155,555.56
Active dates: 2001-2010
Other names you may be familiar with include:
- James Harden – #16: US$228,000,000 [Houston Rockets]
- Steph Curry – #25: US$201,158,790 [Golden State Warriors]
- Ben Simmons – #39: US$169,650,000 [Philadelphia 76ers]
- LeBron James – #56: US$153,312,846 [Los Angeles Lakers]
- Kimi Raikkonen – #57: US$153,000,000 [Ferrari]
- Gareth Bale – #66: US$146,280,000 [Real Madrid FC]