The 25 Largest Sports Contracts of All Time

Written by Carly Hallman

Watching sports, rooting for teams, and celebrating successful players are wildly cherished pastimes around the world. As with other industries, that passion equals profit. In fact, the sports industry is now estimated to be worth more than $500 billion! Whether it’s football, soccer, basketball, or baseball, playing a sport for a major team and achieving stardom can be massively lucrative. Of course, the sport plays a significant factor in how much professional sports players are paid. The largest soccer contract of all time is worth $673,919,105 for Lionel Messi, and this is also the largest contract in sports history. Nearly $200 million less, the largest football contract of all time is worth $503,000,000 for Patrick Mahomes. In third place is the largest baseball contract of all time, which is a 12-year contract for Mike Trout paying $426,500,000. The largest basketball contract of all time does not even make the top ten, clocking in at $228,000,830 for Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

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The 25 Largest Sports Contracts of All Time Transcript

Based on Average Pay per Year

Name, Organization, Sport Average per Year Average per Game Contract Length Contract Total
Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona, Soccer $168,479,776 $3,743,995 4 years (2017-21) $673,919,105
Damien Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Basketball $49,000,000 $597,560 4 years (2021-25) $196,000,000
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, Basketball $45,640,166 $556,587 5 years (2021-26) $228,200,830
Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers, Basketball $44,066,367 $537,394 4 years (2021-25) $176,265,468
John Wall, Washington Wizards → Houston Rockets, Basketball $42,793,708 $521,874 4 years (2019-23) $171,174,820
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs, Football $41,916,667 $2,619,791 12 years (2020-31) $503,000,000
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder → Washington Wizards, Basketball $41,358,814 $504,375 5 years (2018-23) $206,794,070
Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors → Brooklyn Nets, Basketball $41,063,925 $500,799 4 years (2019-23) $164,255,700
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz, Basketball $41,000,000 $500,000 5 years (2021-26) $205,000,000
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, Basketball $40,231,758 $490,631 5 years (2017-22) $201,158,790
Chris Paul, Houston Rockets → Phoenix Suns, Basketball $39,932,648 $486,983 4 years (2018-22) $159,730,592
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans, Football $39,000,000 $2,437,500 6 years (2020-25) $177,500,000
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, Basketball $38,328,212 $467,417 4 years (2018-22) $153,312,846
James Harden, Houston Rockets → Brooklyn Nets, Basketball $38,000,000 $463,414 6 years (2017-23) $228,000,000
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors, Basketball $37,980,720 $463,179 5 years (2019-24) $189,903,600
Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees, Baseball $36,000,000 $222,222 9 years (2020-28) $324,000,000
Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers, Basketball $36,000,000 $429,024 5 years (2019-24) $180,000,000
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels, Baseball $35,541,667 $219,393 12 years (2019-30) $426,500,000
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks, Basketball $35,500,000 $432,926 5 years (2019-24) $177,500,000
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers, Basketball $35,448,672 $432,301 5 years (2020-25) $177,243,360
Jimmy Butler, Philadelphia 76ers → Miami Heat, Basketball $35,197,650 $429,239 4 years (2019-23) $140,790,600
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets → Boston Celtics, Basketball $35,197,650 $429,239 4 years (2019-23) $140,790,600
Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels, Baseball $35,000,000 $216,049 7 years (2020-26) $245,000,000
Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals, Baseball $35,000,000 $216,049 7 years (2020-26) $245,000,000
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, Football $35,000,000 $2,187,500 7 years (2020-26) $140,000,000

Top 10 Players Who Get Paid the Most per Game

Name, Organization, Sport Average per Game
Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona, Soccer $3,743,995
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs, Football $2,619,791
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans, Football $2,437,500
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, Football $2,187,500
Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers, Football $1,718,750
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts, Football $1,449,218
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, Football $1,282,051
Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears, Football $1,215,517
Damien Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Basketball $597,560
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, Basketball $556,587

The Top 10 Biggest Contracts of All Time

  1. Lionel Messi — $673,919,105
  2. Patrick Mahomes — $503,000,000
  3. Mike Trout — $426,500,000
  4. Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers – baseball) — $365,000,000
  5. Fernando Tatís Jr. (San Diego Padres – baseball) — $340,000,000
  6. Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies – baseball) — $330,000,000
  7. Giancarlo Stanton (Miami Marlins → New York Yankees – baseball) — $325,000,000
  8. Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees – baseball) — $324,000,000
  9. Manny Machado (San Diego Padres – baseball) — $300,000,000
  10. Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees – baseball) — $275,000,000

Here are the top ten largest sports contracts of all time:

  1. Lionel Messi: $673,919,105 for a four-year soccer contract with FC Barcelona
  2. Patrick Mahomes: $503,000,000 for a 12-year football contract with the Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Mike Trout: $426,500,000 for a 12-year baseball contract with the Los Angeles Angels
  4. Mookie Betts: $365,000,000 for a 12-year baseball contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers
  5. Fernando Tatís Jr.: $340,000,000 for a 14-year baseball contract with the San Diego Padres
  6. Bryce Harper: $330,000,000 for a 13-year baseball contract with the Philadelphia Phillies
  7. Giancarlo Stanton: $325,000,000 for a 13-year baseball contract with the Miami Marlins
  8. Gerrit Cole: $324,000,000 for a nine-year baseball contract with the New York Yankees
  9. Manny Machado: $300,000,000 for a ten-year baseball contract with the San Diego Padres
  10. Alex Rodriguez: $275,000,000 for a ten-year baseball contract with the New York Yankees

Here are the top ten sports players who get paid the most per game:

  1. Lionel Messi (soccer): $33,181,818 per game
  2. Patrick Mahomes (football): $2,619,791 per game
  3. Dak Prescott (football): $2,500,000 per game
  4. Deshaun Watson (football): $2,437,500 per game
  5. Russell Wilson (football): $2,187,500 per game
  6. Jimmy Garoppolo (football): $1,718,750 per game
  7. Andrew Luck (football): $1,449,218 per game
  8. Trent Williams (football): $1,438,125 per game
  9. Matt Ryan (football): $1,282,051 per game
  10. Khalil Mack (football) $1,215,517 per game

While these sports contracts may seem astronomical, being a professional athlete is no walk in the park. Even just earning a spot among the stars requires immense cultivation of skill, determination, razor-sharp focus, and sacrifice. These players undergo grueling training and long hours in both the on and off seasons. Traveling also takes its toll, and players sacrifice quality time with family and friends to be at away games. So when you’re reading about the biggest sports contracts of all time, consider all of the blood, sweat, and tears that go into those numbers!


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