Who Makes the Most Money in the Sporting World?

Who Makes the Most Money in the Sporting World? Everyone knows that athletes make a lot of money. Regardless of which sport they play, once athletes make it big, they […]

Who Makes the Most Money in the Sporting World?

Everyone knows that athletes make a lot of money. Regardless of which sport they play, once athletes make it big, they are pulling in huge salaries and brand endorsement deals that continue to roll in even after they retire. Becoming a high-earning professional athlete is not easy, but the blood, sweat, and tears are worth it for that big pay cheque.

If you’re considering pursuing a sport yourself, or just curious about earnings, you’ll want to know which sport is the most lucrative. Beyond the sport itself, which athletes currently make the most money in the sporting world?

    1. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is currently on contract with Barcelona FC, which expires in 2021. He is the highest-paid on-field athlete in the entire world, with an annual salary of over $90 million per year. On top of that, he has many brand endorsement deals, which boost his earnings at least an additional $35 million per year. They include Pepsi, Konami, Mastercard, Gatorade, Gillette, Dolce & Gabbana, and Adidas. Altogether, Lionel Messi makes a yearly salary of around $115 million, making him both the highest-earning footballer and athlete in the world. You can find a full breakdown of the wealthiest athletes by sports league and more research by CashLady.

    2. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo comes in at the number two spot, and with 400 million followers on social media, he is the most famous football player in the world. He is currently with Juventus FC, where his salary is around $64 million per year. He previously played for Real Madrid in 2016-2017, where his salary was even higher. Even still, couple his salary with over $44 million in brand endorsements, and he comes in as the second-highest earner in the sporting world at $105 million annually.

    3. Neymar
Neymar is a Brazilian footballer who is on a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain worth $350 million. Paris Saint-Germain purchased him from the Barcelona FC. His annual salary from the FC is $75 million, with an additional $30 million in brand endorsements. Some of his endorsement deals include Red Bull, Nike, Electronic Arts, Mastercard, Beats, and McDonald’s. Neymar is hugely charitable and donates millions of dollars each year to support charities in Brazil.

    4. Roger Federer
The first non-footballer on the list is tennis superstar Roger Federer. Although tennis players don’t make near the same salary as many other athletes where Roger pulls ahead is in his brand deals. His annual salary is only about $7 million, but he makes approximately $86 million each year from endorsements, making him the most sponsored athlete in the world. His brand endorsements include Uniqlo, Rolex, Wilson Sporting Goods, Barilla, Mercedes-Benz, and Credit Suisse Group.

    5. LeBron James
LeBron James may rank number five on the list, but he represents a group of the highest earners in the sporting world: basketball players. On average, basketball players make the highest salaries in the sporting world, with LeBron coming in as the highest-paid. He is currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, where he makes an annual salary of about $37.4 million. He also has a variety of brand endorsements, which total to $53 million per year, including Coca-Cola, Nike, and Kia Motors, as well as his own health and wellness company, a media brand, and the LeBron James Family Foundation.