Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › How Much Rent Can Professional Athletes Afford?

Professional athletes are notorious for extravagant lifestyles and luxury apartments. In fact, some of their homes could almost be classified as small cities based on square footage and amenities like a barbershop or movie theater.

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How Much Rent Can Athletes Afford?

We were curious about how much professional athletes could spend on their apartments, so we started looking into the numbers and running the calculations. The answer: a lot.
Highest-Earning Sports and Highest-Earning Teams

The average annual salaries for NBA players are a stunning $5.15 million. Next in line is baseball with average MLB salaries at $3.2 million. Hockey is next with $2.4 million as the average salary for NHL players. NFL players only average $1.9 million annually, and professional MLS soccer players take home $0.16 million on average.

But even within each sport, not all teams are equal. The five highest-earning U.S. teams across all sports are the following:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA): $8,652,920
  2. New York Yankees (MLB): $7,689,579
  3. LA Clippers (NBA): $7,653,636
  4. Portland Trail Blazers (NBA): $7,389,296
  5. Memphis Grizzlies (NBA): $7,288,005


Highest-Earning U.S. Athletes

Akron, Ohio-based basketball player LeBron James is the top-earning U.S. athlete with a salary of $23.2 million and endorsements of $54 million for a total annual pay of $77.2 million.

Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City basketball player, is the second-highest earner with a salary of $20.2 million and endorsements of $36 million for a total annual pay of $56.2 million.

Next is Cam Newton, the Charlotte-based football player whose $41.1 million salary and $12 million endorsements total $53.1 million in annual pay.

Golfer Phil Mickelson, who lives in Rancho Santa Fe, California, is the fourth-highest-paid athlete with a salary of $2.9 million and endorsements of $50 million, totalling $52.9 million annually.

Dallas golfer Jordan Spieth is next with a $20.8 million salary and $32 million in endorsements, totaling $52.8 million per year.

In Newport Beach, California, is basketball player Kobe Bryant, who brings home $50 million per year from his $25 million salary and $25 million in endorsements.

Tiger Woods, the famous golfer based in Jupiter Island, Florida, takes home $45.3 million each year from his $274,000 salary and $45 million in endorsements.

Football player Eli Manning, who lives in Summit, New Jersey, has a salary of $37 million plus $8 million in endorsements for a total of $45 million per year.

Next up is Audubon, New Jersey football player Joe Flacco, whose salary of $44 million and $500,000 in endorsements make his annual pay $44.5 million.

From Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, football player Tom Brady is next with a $36.1 million salary and $8 million in endorsements, totaling $44.1 million annually.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather, who is based in Las Vegas, takes home a $32 million salary and $12 million in endorsements for a total of $44 million per year.

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida-based golfer Rory McIlroy makes $42.6 million each year, with $7.6 million coming from his salary and $35 million coming from endorsements.

Russell Wilson, the football player from Bellevue, Washington, takes home $41.8 million annually with a salary of $31.8 million and endorsements totaling $10 million.

Athlete Earnings Over a Lifetime

But a professional athlete’s career is not as long as a typical career. Careers last a very short while, only about three to five years, depending on the sport.

Basketball players are the highest earners and typically have 4.8 years as the average career length. This means the average career earnings for NBA players are $24.7 million total.

Baseball players are in the second-highest-paid sport and have the longest average career length at 5.5 years. The average career earnings for MLB players is $17.9 million, still less than NBA players despite the longer career.

The careers of hockey players also last 5.5 years, on average — the same as baseball players. Over their whole careers, NHL players will take home an average of $13.2 million.

Football players have a much shorter career, lasting 3.5 years on average. Over their careers, NFL players will make an average of $6.7 million.

Soccer players have the shortest average career length, at 3.2 years, and are the lowest-paid of the sports. In total, MLS players will take home half a million dollars over their lifetime.

Apartment Affordability

Because housing costs are a large part of a household’s expenditures, we were curious as to how much these professional athletes could spend on apartments. In calculating the numbers, we started by assuming their income would need to sustain 60 years into the athlete’s old age, and we used the benchmark of 30% of income allocated for housing costs.

The highest-earning teams had significantly higher monthly budget allotments than the median two-bedroom rental in their town. First up, the players on the Cleveland Cavaliers team would have $19,229 to spend each month on housing, while a median two-bedroom apartment in Cleveland is only $964. A New York Yankees player would have $19,936 for his monthly housing budget. The median cost for a two-bedroom in Manhattan is $4,088, though Brooklyn is cheaper at $2,660. The LA Clippers would have $17,008 to spend on a luxury apartment, and the median rental in Los Angeles is $2,449. With a monthly housing budget of $16,421, the Portland Trail Blazers have much more to spend than the $2,415 median cost of a two-bedroom in their town. And the Memphis Grizzlies would have $16,196 to spend on rent, while a median two-bedroom apartment in the Southern town would only cost $676. (Note that these figures do not include interest earnings or pay earned after the professional athlete’s career ends.)

We only found one team where the calculated monthly housing budget based on the players’ lifetime earnings equaled the housing market. That’s the San Francisco 49ers, with a monthly housing budget of $3,548 and a median two-bedroom cost in San Francisco running $3,518 per month.

The biggest losers in our calculations had the largest gap between an athlete’s monthly housing budget and the housing market. In other words, the salaries of these professional athletes — all soccer players — would not last their lifetimes. A player on the Colorado Rapids would have a monthly housing budget of $475 based on lifetime earnings, but a median two-bedroom apartment costs $1,475. The San Jose Earthquakes could only spend $354 per month on rent, but $2,690 is the median cost for a two-bedroom apartment. With a monthly housing budget of $335, players on the New England Revolution would need more money to afford $2,669, the median two-bedroom cost. Philadelphia Union players could only afford $327, which is not enough for the median two-bedroom rate of $1,391. The New York Red Bulls would have a monthly housing budget of $323, much less than the median two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, $4,088, or the Brooklyn, $2,660.

The Luxury Lifestyle of Professional Athletes

In reality, LeBron James has an Akron, Ohio, mansion valued at $9.2 million. With six bedrooms, eight bathrooms and six half-bathrooms, the 30,000-square-foot palace includes an aquarium, barbershop and two-story walk-in closet. But in 2015, James bought a second mansion in Brentwood, California. This one has 9,350 square feet, six bedrooms and seven bathrooms; it cost him $21 million.

Peyton Manning lives near Denver in Cherry Hills Village. His 16,464-square-foot house has seven bedrooms, seven full bathrooms and three partial bathrooms. Valued at $5.1 million, it includes an elevator and an oversized seven-car heated garage.

Tom Brady sold his Brentwood estate to Dr. Dre in 2014 for $40 million. With 18,298 square feet, it had five spacious bedrooms and nine bathrooms. On the four acres of property, there’s a winding driveway, moat and koi pond. Brady downsized to Brookline, Massachusetts, where he has a five-bedroom, 14,317-square-foot apartment that’s next door to Patriots Owner Bob Kraft. The value of this place is $4.5 million. Brady also owns a $14 million Manhattan penthouse, but in 2018, he’s changing his NYC address to a luxury Tribeca condo after the building is complete. The cost of this new place is $20 million.

Floyd Mayweather has a sweet Las Vegas mansion that has 20,000 square feet of space. It includes a 600-square-foot walk-in closet, two-story movie theater and parking for a car collection that’s worth $15 million. The house is valued at $3.4 million. In 2016, Mayweather purchased a house on the Miami waterfront that has four bedrooms, five bathrooms, 5,200 square feet of space and a heated pool. It cost $7.7 million, and he paid cash.

Tiger Woods has a massive Jupiter Island, Florida, estate that’s valued at $60 million. The house has 10,000 square feet, but in the backyard there’s a 3.5-acre golf course and dock for his $10 million yacht.


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About :

Amber is the Social Media & Content Manager for For Rent Media Solutions™ and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber helps execute and optimize a social media strategic plan across multiple channels, as well as manages the company's social media product. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of For Rent Media Solutions brand. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.


  1. Great article Amber,

    I didn’t know Tom Brady sold his estate to Dr. Dre that’s interesting. But I’m very surprised to see that the annual salary of an NFL player is less than an NHL player. I’m even more surprised that the NBA players make more than two times that of an NFL player on average. Once again great article keep it up.


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