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The biggest contracts in sports - How much is too much?

19 Feb 2024
Jeremy Darke 19 Feb 2024
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  • The biggest contract in sports is $700M USD
  • Which players earns the most money in sports?
  • Which sport has the most lucrative contracts?
  • What is the biggest contract in sports history?
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has been pipped as the holder of the biggest contract in sports. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Players With The Biggest Sporting Contracts

The $700M (USD) contract to new LA Dodger Shohei Ohtani tops off a crazy year of sporting contracts, where the highest earnings in a ground contract has been broken three times. It makes me wonder how much is too much and to be honest, has me questioning are these players really worth it and is it ruining sports.

I certainly appreciate the value of a sportsman just as much as the next guy. The lifetime of training from before they even knew they were training. The countless hours of repetitiveness to fine-tune their skills and work on parts of their game that may be exploited by their opponents.

I also understand that since David Beckham broke down the walls of athletes becoming marketing and advertising pieces of meat, not just for sports brands but also for anything in the range between Gucci watches to home insurance, the value of having a player on your team on the field is now just as important as having them off the field.

The sports industry generates over a trillion dollars each year and clubs like the Los Angeles Dodgers make millions of dollars by having players like Shohei Ohtani as their face and take a cut of anything they touch, so both parties win. The Dodgers already get an average of just under 7,000 more fans than the next best organisation in the MLB, the New York Yankees, we can only imagine how many more bums on seats there will be in 2024 when the Japanese sensation is throwing strikes at Dodgers Stadium.

Where does it stop? How does it stop? Is the game better or worse because of it?

Look what it has done to soccer/football, with Christiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Neymar and the likes moving to Saudi to play soccer, taking the best players in the game away from the best leagues. Lionel Messi moving to Miami also goes under the same category, despite coming to the end of his career, he was arguably still the best player in the game at the time of his outlandish transfer.

Money will always drive everything in this world, it is the truth about humanity, but it is taking the purity out of sport and could it potentially be its demise. $700M is too much!

The Top 10 Largest Sporting Contracts

Total Value
Per year
Per Game
1Shohei OhtaniLos Angeles DodgersBaseball10 years $700,000,000$70,000,000[b]$432,099
2Lionel MessiFC BarcelonaAssociation football4 years $674,000,000$168,500,000$4,434,210
3Cristiano RonaldoAl-NassrAssociation football2.5 years $536,336,818$214,534,727$7,151,158
4Patrick MahomesKansas City ChiefsAmerican football10 years $450,000,000$45,000,000$2,465,686
5Karim BenzemaAl-Ittihad ClubAssociation football2 years $436,336,818$214,534,727$7,151,158
6Mike TroutLos Angeles AngelsBaseball12 years $426,500,000$35,541,667$219,393
7Canelo ÁlvarezDAZN*Boxing5 years $365,000,000$73,000,000$33,181,818
7Mookie BettsLos Angeles DodgersBaseball12 years $365,000,000$30,416,667$187,757
9Aaron JudgeNew York YankeesBaseball9 years $360,000,000$40,000,000$246,913
10Manny MachadoSan Diego PadresBaseball11 years $350,000,000$31,818,818$196,409

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