There has never been a better time to be a top athlete in your sport or key player in a popular team sport. Money from TV rights is fuelling massive increases in player salaries across basketball, American football, golf, and soccer.
Here at PledgeSports, we have crunched the numbers to give you the current Top 10 Richest Athletes on the planet – apologies in advance for making you feel poor!
10. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Dwayne Johnson also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American actor, producer, and semi-retired professional wrestler. Widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, Johnson gained mainstream fame in the WWE from 1996 to 2004 and was the first third-generation wrestler in the company’s history.
Johnson’s first leading film role was in The Scorpion King in 2002. For this, he was paid US$5.5 million, a world record for an actor in his first starring role. Since then, the Rock has appeared in many films such as The Fast & Furious series. In 2016, he was the highest grossing actor making him the wealthy man he is today.
9. Lionel Messi
Net worth: $280 million
He has won the FIFA player of the year award five times and his playing contract is loaded with bonuses for such feats, which help make him one of the highest-paid on the pitch. In a twist of events, a Spanish court found Messi guilty of tax fraud in July 2016.
The Argentine captain was sentenced to 21 months in prison, although he almost certainly will serve the time as probation instead of behind bars.
8. Alex Rodriguez
Net worth: $300 million +
Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez , nicknamed “A-Rod“, is a Dominican-American former professional baseball shortstop and third baseman. He played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees. Considered to be one of the greatest baseball players of all-time, Rodriguez has reportedly earned over $400 million in career earning and endorsements.
7. LeBron James
Net worth: $330 million
LeBron last ranked in the top 10 in 2014 just after winning back-to-back NBA championships in Miami.
Since then he has earned three All-Star honours, gone to two NBA Finals and cemented his place as one of the all-time basketball greats by leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to overcome a 3-1 series deficit and win Cleveland’s first professional sports championship in over 50 years.
“The King” James has been signed to Nike since he was a baby-faced teen. Pair that with a Coke endorsement and it seems his bank account will be near billions in the black for the foreseeable future.
6. Phil Mickelson
Net worth: $365 million
Philip Alfred Mickelson , nicknamed Lefty, is an American professional golfer. He has won 43 events on the PGA Tour, including five major championships. He was known as Tiger Woods bitter rival during the 1990’s and both of them combined are worth well over $1 billion dollars.
Mickelson has had huge success on the course and also with huge endorsements deals like Workday and Barclays. Phil wears the brand name on his shirts during each tour event.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo
Net Worth – $375 million
The Portuguese international had a stellar 2016 with both club and country, lifting the Champions League with Real Madrid in May before captaining his country to European glory at the Euros in the summer.
On a personal level, he broke the 50-goal mark for the sixth successive season with Madrid, warranting a contract worth $50 million per year plus bonuses.
Throw in his fourth Balon D’Or and it’s not hard to see why Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the highest earning athlete of last year. He’s the world’s most popular athlete with over 200 million social media followers, helping him land head-to-toe sponsorships including Nike, Tag Heuer, Sacoor Brothers suits and Monster headphones.
4. Roger Federer
Net worth: $400 million
Roger Federer’s 16-year streak of Grand Slam appearances ended at 65 in May 2016 when a back problem caused him to pulled out of the French Open.
He remains the top player off the court with $60 million in earnings from deals with blue-chip companies like Nike, Rolex. Mercedes-Benz and Credit Suisse.
Federer has won $98 million in prize money during his 18-year career, most recently topping up his earnings with a victory over Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open earlier this year.
3. David Beckham
Net worth: $450 million
The former Manchester United star and England captain still outstrips the top Premier League earners, despite hanging up his boots five years ago. David has always been a brandable player who has done lots of work outside football to aid his fortunes. He has turned his hand to fashion, food and drink, television, entertainment and more — and he continues to reap the rewards.
In January 2018, Beckham, along with his business partners, Beckham launched a Miami MLS team that is expected to enter the North American league as an expansion team in 2020. Beckham had been given the option to own a franchise team as part of the contract he signed with MLS when he joined the LA Galaxy in 2007 and he exercised that option in 2014.
2. Floyd Mayweather
Net worth: $565 million
Back at the top of the pile since his last outing in 2015 against Manny Paquiao, Floyd has earned himself a whopping $200 million plus extra endorsements for his bout with UFC superstar Conor McGregor. The Super Fight took place in August of 2017, and ranked among one of the most watched boxing events ever. Mayweather cashed in and defeated McGregor in the latter rounds, a win that seen Floyd reach the iconic 50-0.
1. Tiger Woods
Net worth: $740 million+
In his prime, Tiger was the best golfer the world has ever seen. Winning the U.S. Open Championship by 15 shots, the British Open by 11, the Masters by 12 and the “Tiger Slam” are just a few of the things that separate him from the others. Tiger has made more than $1.4 billion since turning pro in 1996, and became the first sport’s billionaire.
More than $110 million of that came from on-course winnings. He’s No. 1 on the all-time money list, by far.
After playing in just two tournaments in over two years and a tumultuous ten months that included his fourth back surgery in four years and an arrest after being found asleep in his car on the side of the road, Woods is finally back and ready to take on this years majors.
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