They perform in front of a global audience of millions, and the world's top sporting stars command salaries in the millions too.
Footballers and baseball players are the highest earners, according to the results of a global survey of sports salaries.
English Premier League side Manchester City pay their players the most. The average annual salary for a first team player is more than $8,100,000, or $155,000 a week.
The New York Yankees are the best paid baseball team, with average annual salaries of $8,031,000. They're followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Players there earn just short of $150,000 a week.
In fourth place are Spanish La Liga football club, Real Madrid, where average annual wages are about $7,586,000. They’re just ahead of age-old rivals Barcelona, where average wages work out at about $143,000 a week.
Basketball's NBA is the highest-paying league in the world, with 441 NBA players at 30 teams earning more than $5 million a year each.
And the English Premier League is the best-paying football league in the world, with an average salary of about $3.8 million.
Can such wages be justified?
Presenter Hazem Sika
Skylet Andrew - a Sports and Entertainment Agent who used to represent English footballer Sol Campbell
Travis Waldron - a sports reporter at Think Progress
Luther Blissett - a former professional footballer at AC Milan, who was transferred for $1.6 million