With another year closed, it’s time we reflect on everything that has transpired. The past year was massive for professional sports, and we witnessed some incredible events taking place.
As usual, everyone wants to know which athletes brought home the most money during this time. Normally, sports analysts focus on the big contracts and endorsements to determine this, but there is another way to look at the data.
While everyone is swayed by the largest contracts in sports, what about the actual playtime versus how much they earn? If we focus on this metric, then Conor McGregor earned more per minute than any other athlete in 2020. In the sport of football, for instance, there are normally 16 games in a season outside of potential playoff games. In a sport like soccer, an athlete may have played in 50 or more matches in a year.
Professional football players normally get all the press with their record-breaking contracts, but the NFL season is incomparable to fighters who may only take part in 1-2 events per year. Let’s see how much a player like Aaron Rodgers earned in 2020 to illustrate this point.
Aaron Rodgers is one of the most successful and highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL today. His total income for the year is estimated at around $21 million, with an additional $9 million coming from endorsement deals. This year he proved his worth to the Green Bay Packers again, as he has made it to the NFC championship game.
When we look at what the professional analysts from the best gambling websites have to say, most would agree that the Packers are the favorite to win the NFC championship over the Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team would then go on to the Super Bowl with the chance to win it all.
While Rodgers’ earnings and successes for the year are substantial for any athlete, it’s worth considering how long he’s playing to earn that amount. Quarterbacks don’t switch out like players to other positions. An average football game lasts around 3 hours and 12 minutes. Though he will play for only a fraction of that time, you still need to consider that there are 16 regular games in an NFL season and the potential for several more if your team advances to the playoffs.
Comparatively, boxers and MMA fighters will compete in their sport for far less time over the course of a year. The website Olbg.com published a fascinating report that compares the time several athletes actually competed versus their salary and winnings to determine their value per minute.
Conor McGregor is the perfect athlete to illustrate the findings in this study. He fought just one time in 2020 and received an estimated $32 million from his $3 million salary and $29 million in a form of a PPV bonus. However, McGregor’s fight lasted only 40 seconds before he finished his opponent by KO. This means that while someone like Aaron Rodgers plays an entire NFL season to earn his combined $30 million, McGregor effectively received the same amount for under 1 minute of effort. This means Conor earned more per minute than anyone else in 2020.
McGregor is certainly an extreme example, but not too far removed from other comparable athletes in prizefighting. Deontay Wilder is another athlete that is at the top of his respective sport in boxing. The same study placed his earnings for the year at $46 million for 42 minutes of work. This means he essentially earned $1,095,238 per minute.
Tennis superstar Roger Federer is the overall highest-paid athlete of 2020 with a remarkable take-home of $106.3 million. Most of this sum came from endorsements. While this is impressive, it’s important to keep in mind that the ATP tennis season begins in January and ends in November, making it far longer than other professional sports.
Johnson provides another example on the opposite end of the spectrum from someone like McGregor. PGA golf has effectively one of the longest “seasons” in professional sports, meaning it runs for around 93% of the year. Throughout 2020, Johnson played in tournaments from October to August. His total earnings for the year are projected to be around $24 million, a sum comparable to Aaron Rogers or Conor McGregor, yet he worked for the entire year to get this amount.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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