Who Makes More Money NFL or NBA?

Bianca Grasu

Casino expert

Who Makes More Money NFL or NBA?

It’s no secret that NBA players earn some impressive amounts of money. The NBA’s salary cap has more than doubled 10 years ago. It is currently set at $112.4 million with a luxury-tax threshold of $136.6 million. But who exactly makes more money, NFL or NBA?

NBA players earn more than NFL players


Over 35 players are expected to rake in more than $28 million in annual salary this season, excluding escrow payments, according to a report released by Forbes. These figures are well ahead of the NFL.

More so, the top 10 NBA-earning players are expected to make around $714 million in the 2021-2022 season, which is up 19% from the 2019-2020 season and 28% from the 2020-2021 season.

Who’s the highest paid NBA player?

LeBron James has been named the top paid NBA player, with his expected earnings are expected to exceed $111.2 million.

LeBron James has earned over $1 billion during his career, making him the fifth active athlete in history to attain the three-comma mark. Hot on his heels is Steph Curry, his long-time rival. The superstar’s fortunes have increased tremendously in recent years.

The Golden State’s Warriors’ powerhouse has received an assortment of partnerships and endorsement deals to increase his earnings, especially this season. This season shows just how ludicrous the salaries of NBA players are.

The highest paid NBA players

1. LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) – $111.2 Million


King James leads the list of the highest earners in this league, unsurprisingly. He’s on his way to becoming one of the billionaires to emerge from the club.

Off the court, he generated an impressive $70 million, with his partnership with Nike alone paying around $32 million per year. That figure, combined with his annual salary of $41.2 million, is enough to rank him first in the list of the highest-earning NBA players.

2. Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors) – $92.8 Million


Shooting maestro Steph Curry comes in second among the highest-earning NBA players this year. The Warriors’ star has earned a whopping $92.8 million during this time, as well as an impressive $47 million off the court. Curry’s most significant achievement was the announcement of his Curry Brand, backed by Under Armour. The new venture is worth about $20 million.

He contributed to a $37 million investment into an esports franchise together with his teammate Andre Iguodala. That’s surprising, given his statements that he wasn’t keen on investing in gambling. Given the rapid pace the industry of online UK casinos develops, he couldn’t miss this lucrative opportunity. Still, we believe this is him trying to avoid any association with gambling while he’s still an active player.

3. Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) – $87.9 Million


The contract of Kevin Durant is huge as it is, but the player’s earnings skyrocketed at the end of 2020. Notably, he invested $1 million in a food delivery start-up business in 2016. The company, called Postmates, was soon bought by tech powerhouse Uber for $2.65 billion.

After the buyout, Durant turned his $1 million into $15 million. Furthermore, Durant has invested in over 80 companies, including Robinhood and Acorns, Sleeper, and Mercury. Still, he said he isn’t too keen on investing in gambling apps or cryptocurrencies.

4. Giannis Antekounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) – $80.2 Million


In December 2020, Giannis Antekounmpo signed the most lucrative deal in NBA history that saw him secure a five-year contract extension worth $228 million.

Considering that he is only 26 years old, the Greek Freak is one of the youngest NBA players on this list. His value is expected to keep rising in the next few years.

5. Russell Westbrook (Los Angeles Lakers) – $74.2 Million


In 2019, Westbrook partnered with Nike, a deal that saw him make more than $54 million. The player has also partnered with 10 Southern California car dealers to increase his earnings even further.

Westbrook enjoys playing Poker and putting his money to work for him in smart investments. Speaking of bets, did you know that Westbrook was the most profitable player for sports bettors in the first half of the current NBA season?

Why NBA players earn more?


The NBA is renowned for being the most creative and innovative sports league in North America. It earns money from various sources, including ticket sales, television rights, and merchandising.

The organisation’s total revenue reached $8.7 billion in the 2018-2019 season. Furthermore, every NBA team is worth not less than $1 billion. The average valuation of all the teams in the 2019-2020 season is $2.1 billion.

TV revenues

Like other sports leagues, television rights play a significant role in the business strategy of the NBA. TV is an excellent option for NBA fans as they can watch the game by only paying the cost of their TV service or cable provider.

TV accounts for a considerable part of the NBA’s revenue. For the 2018-2019 season, ESPN and TNT increased their contracts with the NBA to $24 billion. The 9-year deal rakes in about $2.6 billion every year.

Merchandise deals

NBA’s merchandise deals account for more than 1 billion dollars every year. This amount increased significantly when players started wearing brands’ logos on their jerseys.

A couple of logos have brought in about $9.3 million every year, and the NBA has earned over $150 million in total so far. The advertisers include Walt Disney, General Electric, Rakuten and more.


Sponsorship deals also bring in huge sums of money to the basketball league. For instance, the NBA cancelled its partnership with Adidas to sign an 8-year contract with Nike worth $1 billion. This deal was a 245% increase from the previous deal.


The ticketing business contributes handsomely to the league. Based on an article made by ESPN, the 2019-2020 season had teams average between 15000 to 20000 fans per game. With game tickets costing an average of $75, the money generated from ticket sales is quite impressive.

All these factors have an impact on who makes more money, basketball players or football players.

Why are football franchises worth more than basketball ones?


NFL teams rake in more money and are valued highly as compared to their NBA equivalents.

The average value of a football franchise is $2.8 billion, which is 52% more than the worth of an NBA team. The average valuation of every team in the NBA is around $1 billion. However, the NBA has more than halved this gap in the previous five years.

Who makes more money, NFL or NBA?

NFL teams raked in approximately $14 billion in revenue, as compared to the NBA who made $8.6 in income, according to Forbes.

NFL’s revenue grew by 7% from the previous year, while NBA’s revenue grew by 25% from the prior year. This means that the NBA is growing faster, and the debate on ‘Who makes more money, NFL or NBA?’ could take a different side in a few years.

Football versus basketball

American football overtook baseball in terms of popularity in the 1970s, and since then it has become America’s No. 1 favourite sport. 37% of Americans consider it their favourite, while 11% prefer basketball and only 9% baseball.

Can basketball overtake football in popularity?

Interest is growing fast in China, where the NBA has more than 140 million followers on social media. In India, basketball is one of the fastest-growing sports, only behind cricket. If you add up the populations of India and China, you will have 26% of the world’s population.

Who makes more on an international level?

Over 30% of NBA’s pass subscriptions come from Asia. The popularity of the NBA internationally is expected to keep increasing. Also, NBA’s revenue grew by 25% compared to the NFL, which grew by 7%. So, it is safe to say that if the NBA continues with this trend, it could overtake the NFL by 2029.

Super Bowl will always be football’s main attraction, which alone rakes in more than 500 million dollars. TV numbers for NFL regular games will also show twice as much as compared to the NBA. However, basketball’s popularity is expected to keep growing and could overtake the NFL.

NBA vs NFL salary table

NBA Player Annual Salary NFL Player Annual Salary

Stephen Curry

$45.7 million

Patrick Mahomes

$45 million

James Harden

$44.3 million

Josh Allen

$43 million

John Wall

$44.3 million

Dak Prescott

$40 million

Russell Westbrook

$44.2 million

Deshaun Watson

$39 million

Kevin Durant

$42 million

Russell Wilson

$35 million

Lebron James

$41 million

Aaron Rodgers

$33.5 million