Do you want to know who is the richest athlete in the world? How wealthy are the world’s top athletes exactly? If that’s what you seek, so shall you receive. In this article, we’ll be sharing a list of some of the wealthiest athletes in the world along with their estimated earnings.
While the pandemic weakened the finances of professional sports by billions of dollars, the top 10 highest-paid athletes saw collective growth of about 28% in earnings from the last year, leading to a gross total of $1.05 billion shared across the top earners.
There’s a record four athletes inducted into the $100 million club. With four out of the top ten earning athletes hailing from the United States and Soccer/Football being the most recurring sport, check out the list of the richest athletes in the world to discover more such facts.
Mind you, the list has been made according to every athlete’s last year’s earnings. Read along the article to find out who takes the title of the richest athlete in the world and how well are others ranked in the list along with their estimated earnings.
Richest Athlete in the World in 2021
With two football legends, a quarterback, and a mixed martial arts fighter making it into the 2021’s $100 million club, follow through the article as we disclose the world’s top-earning athletes along with their nationality and sports.
1. Conor McGregor
Topping off the list as the richest athlete in the world, we have ‘The Notorious’ UFC fighter – Conor McGregor. Though his appearance at the January UFC 257 event didn’t turn out as per his expectations as Dustin Poirer knocked him out, he sure made an estimated $22 million out of the fight.
Out of his massive earnings of $180 million in the last 12 months, he made about $158 million off the field with the real money-making business of his whiskey brand, Proper No. Twelve along with endorsements including DraftKings, Roots of Fight, and the Contest of Heroes video game.
2. Lionel Messi
Next up, we have the iconic footballer from the land of Argentina, Lionel Messi as the second richest athlete in the world. With the recent 2021 Copa América tournament held in Brazil, Messi became the active footballer with the most free-kick goals surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo’s previous tally of 56.
His marvelous earnings of $130 million in the past year include about $97 million coming from on-field winnings and prize money while the rest $33 million came from brand deals and sponsorships like the lifetime deal with Adidas, and the clothing line by Ginny Hilfiger among others.
3. Christiano Ronaldo
Coming in as the second footballer on this list, Christiano Ronaldo makes an appearance as the third richest athlete in the world. Ronaldo also became the world’s first person to reach 500 million followers, in February, across sites including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Of his lucrative earnings of $120 million, around $64 million comes from his 4-year contract with Juventus that’s set to expire in 2022. In addition to that, he makes about $50 million from brand sponsorships including a lifetime deal with Nike along with his CR7 businesses of clothing, accessories, gyms, and hotels.
4. Dak Prescott
The famous American footballer, Dak Prescott from the world’s most valuable sports team the Cowboys, makes it as the fourth richest athlete in the world according to his last year’s estimated earnings of $107.5 million inducting him into the $100 million club.
Dak’s past year’s worth follows a 90:10 split between his on-field and off-field earnings. While he made around $97.5 million from winnings and salaries including the $66 million signing bonus on top of a 4-year $160 million contract with Cowboys, about $10 million of his total earnings comes from endorsements including Sleep Number, 7/11, and DirecTV.
5. LeBron James
The next entry on the list is the legendary NBA star, LeBron James. Still dominant as ever on the court even at 36, LeBron made about $96.5 million in the last 12 months with about $31.5 million accounting to winnings and prize pools.
The rest $65 million came from brand deals and investments. LeBron left the longtime partner Coca-Cola for a new deal with PepsiCo. He also owns a small stake in Fenway Sports Group that overlooks the Roush Fenway Racing, Boston Red Sox, and Liverpool FC.
After the appearance of Messi and Ronaldo on the list, Neymar makes his way as the sixth richest athlete in the world. He is also the third most popular athlete on social media with 282 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
With $76 million coming from on-field earnings and $19 million from off the field, Neymar made a total of $95 million in the past year. His earnings include the recent decision to switch to Puma as its brand ambassador in the last year after an early exit from Nike’s Jordan contract.
7. Roger Federer
Next up on the list, we have the tennis legend – Roger Federer as the seventh richest athlete in the world. In the past twelve months, even though Roger was out of commission for much of that period owing to a knee injury, he still made an impressive earning of $90 million.
Almost all of that earning came from brand deals and sponsorships including Rolex, Uniqlo and Credit Suisse. Apart from that, Roger also has a stake in On, a Swiss athletic apparel company.
8. Lewis Hamilton
Making his entry only for the second time in the top ten list (#10 in 2017), we have the popular Mercedes racing driver – Lewis Hamilton taking the eighth spot among the richest athletes in the world in 2021.
Out of his last year’s earnings of $82 million, Hamilton made around $70 million on the field with 11 race wins while the rest $12 million came from endorsements including brands like Puma, Tommy Hilfiger and Monster Energy.
Sport: Formula 1
9. Tom Brady
Tom Brady is the second American football star making it into the list after Dak Prescott. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback stacked up an earning of $76 million in the last year with the on-field yield amounting to about $45 million.
The rest $31 million of the total earnings came from Brady’s endorsement deals with the Danish eyewear maker Christopher Cloos, the Fanatics clothing line along with his entrepreneurship businesses including wellness brand TB12, an NFT platform and even a film production company.
10. Kevin Durant
Sidelined for the 2019-20 season due to Achilles injury, the basketball star from Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant still makes it on the list as the tenth richest athlete in the world. With an overall earning of $75 million in the past year, around $31 million came from the on-field hustle.
Durant made the remaining portion amounting to $44 million off the field including his firm Thirty-Five Ventures, a stake in MLS’s Philidelphia Union and other investments. He also worked as the executive producer of the Oscar-winning short film Two Distant Strangers.
With this, it’s time to wrap up the list of the World’s top 10 highest-earning athletes. We hope that you found the list quite informative and satisfactory. While the upper half featured regular names like McGregor, Messi, and Ronaldo; the bottom half saw quite of a reshuffle.
If you liked the content, share it among your friends and comment down below whose appearance on the list surprised you the most. And keep coming back to Path of Ex for more interesting lists and updates on lifestyle, entertainment, and technology.
Feature Image Credit: Wallpaper Cave