How Much The Highest Paid Athletes of 2015 Earned Per Second

The highest paid sports stars from 10 of the world’s favourite sports earned just shy of a staggering $100, 000 collectively per second they were in active play in 2015!

This figure comes from new research by Expert Market into exactly how much your favourite athletes made per second that they were on the field/in the ring/on the track last year. Amazingly, these figures do not include any pay from endorsements, which would add hundreds of millions to the total earnings for these 10 superstars.

highest paid athletes 2015

Forbes release an annual list of the top paid athletes each year. Instead of looking at the 10 highest paid athletes overall, we wanted to look at a variety of sports and how different styles of play affect the per second earning of their stars.

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It seems that the high prize money and relatively low ring times associated with combat sports makes them the highest earners per second. Mayweather took the top position with an astonishing $65972.22 earned for every second he was in the ring in 2015. McGregor was the only athlete to come close to Mayweather in per second earnings with $31,886.79 for every second he spent in the octagon last year. Ronda Rousey, another MMA fighter, was also the highest per second earning female athlete.

Top 10 Athletes' Earnings Per Second In 2015

RankNameSportEarnings ($)Seconds of Active PlayEarnings per second of Active Play
1Floyd MayweatherBoxing285 Million4320$65,972.22
2Conor McGregorMMA13.5 Million424$31,886.79
3Lewis HamiltonRacing36 Million100366$358.69
4Cristiano RonaldoSoccer52.6 Milion291600$180.38
5Usain BoltTrack15 Thousand159$94.34
6Jon LesterBaseball33.7 Million367200$91.78
7LeBron JamesBasketball20.8 Million828000$25.12
8Roger FedererTennis9 Million728160$12.36
9Mahendra Singh DhoniCricket4 Million718200$5.57
10Phil MicklesonGolf2.8 Million1117800$2.50

Earnings With Endorsements

Interestingly, adding in endorsement pay shakes the rankings up completely! Usain Bolt’s enormous endorsement paycheck and minimal time on track shoot him into first place:

RankNameSportEarnings with Endorsements ($)Seconds of Active PlayEarnings per second of Active Play
1Usain BoltTrack21 Million159$132,075.47
2Floyd MayweatherBoxing300 Million4320$69,444.44
3Conor McGregorMMA14.7 Million424$34,575.47
4Lewis HamiltonRacing39 Million100366$388.58
5Cristiano RonaldoSoccer79.6 Milion291600$272.98
6Jon LesterBaseball34.1 Million367200$92.86
7Roger FedererTennis67 Million728160$92.01
8LeBron JamesBasketball64.8 Million828000$78.26
9Phil MicklesonGolf50.8 Million1117800$45.45
10Mahendra Singh DhoniCricket31 Million718200$43.16

Highest Earning Female Athletes

Female sports stars notoriously earn a lot less than their male counterparts. One of the exceptions perhaps is Tennis, where the prize pot is now the same in all major grand slam tournaments.

Unsurprisingly therefore, 6 of the top 10 highest earning female athletes are from the world of Tennis. Interestingly, as women’s tennis matches are usually shorter, this means that Sharapova earned nearly twice as much as Federer per second in their 2015 matches even though she earned $2.3 million less overall.

The table below show how the highest female earners across different sports fare against their male counterparts. It should be noted that there are only 4 female athletes from different sports to compare due to the lack of females on the Forbes richest list and the dominance of tennis amongst high earning female sports stars:

RankNameSportEarnings ($)Seconds of Active PlayEarnings per second of Active Play
1Ronda RouseyMMA3 Million107$28,037.39
2Danica PatrickRacing7.9 Million98637$80.09
3Serena WilliamsTennis11.6 Million329220$35.23
4Stacy LewisGolf2.4 Million1539000$1.56

Comparison With 'Normal' Jobs

The amount of money some athletes earned per second they actively played last year was more than many people earnt in the entire year. However, when you look at someone like Phil Mickelson, who only earned $2.50 per second (without endorsements) is it really much more than normal folk earn?

We took 5 crucial jobs; teachers, nurses, cops, firefighters and doctors, and worked out how much the average person earned per second they were actively doing their job in 2015. The results?

Firefighters earned an average of just $0.0046 per second, while the highest earning Doctors took home $0.016 per second they worked (not including overtime).

Job TitleAv. Annual Earnings ($)Av. Annual work hoursSeconds of Active WorkEarnings per second of Active Work
Doctor (GP)175,536300010800000$0.016
Teacher (high school)58,26013325054400$0.012
Nurse21,69220807488000$0.0089
Cop54,23020498985600$0.006
Firefighter47,720288010368000$0.0046

So don't feel too sorry for Mickelson just yet.

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